What a DnD world should have????

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Well I was sitting down at my desk creating my own custom campaign setting and after drawing out my first continent I wondered.....what the hell do I put In here????? Besides the generic things like plains, Mountains, human cities, elves, orcs, Dwarves ect. I mean what are some truelly unique things I could put in here!!!!!!!!

So please tell me what you think a DnD world should have! Post any ideas you have or even things yo have created: for example, races, cool cities, regions, castles, names, people or even maps.
I would recommend a city run by Kobolds, some kind of Japanese feudal society so you've got wondering kobold samurai with a kobold shogun. They should probably be weary of travelers and be protecting some ancient holy site where a great force dragon is said to have died protecting their clan in ages past.
A unique geographic feature, like a River of Worlds (Tethys in the Hyperion/Endymion series of novels by Dan Simmons) which traverses different worlds/plains/dimensions and basically goes around in circles. Or maybe a mountain like the Olympus, where gods reside. I've seen some ideas with the Astral Sea being an actual sea, and the campaign world was an island/continent surrounded by it. Or you migh put a deep canyon, mine, cave system or just a great big hole reaching all the way down to hell/abyss. You can use all of the above, really :D

Various societies - a republic (like Rome), an empire with many provinces (again like Rome) loosely connected sity-states sharing some cultural heritage (like Ro... I mean Greece), a society ruled by the undead (necrocracy?), a magocracy... Combine them with different races. I always like to make one large city, a hub of the entire world. Or maybe two rival megacities. They would have to be ethnically very mixed, a rather liberal when it comes to laws or the enforcement thereof.

Pirates. Also, maybe ninjas. But definitely pirates. A Pirate nation spread all over an archipelago? Maybe a pain the... Back for the aforementioned republic/empire/city-states.

Ancient temples, Indiana Jones style. Dungeon crawling is a lot more interesting when it involves pyramids and ancient cities, not caves full of goblins.

A large scale war. A huge, persistent battlefield, cities under siege, that sort of thing. Possible adventures include covert operations behind enemy lines, sabotage, supply stealing, political intrigue, and good old fighting.
I have to concur that an active war type thing is a good backdrop for a setting. Not only does it give your party something to choose sides on - it gives you an excuse to have enemies with "split attention" .... really helps cut the PCs some slack when the BEBG is unable to focus all their attention on them.
Though it's typically 100% unimportant to the plot, the worlds I create typically start from or feature an interesting creation story that has bearings on the current geograpy, political climate, planar alignment, and racial structure. That's likely more my personal preference, but I find it adds a nice cohesive mythology to the world.
A fresh water in-land sea. Several nation ilands in it.
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The major countries for my campain are (Havest is the name of the world by the way):
✦ Arcadia: A republic ran by magicians and populated by people of all races.
✦ Abasol: A group of loosely connected city states populated by various races.
✦ Grandal: A kingdom of mostly humans and tieflings. They are the largest and most powerful country in Havest. The last king was overthrown and replaced with a power-hungry tyrant.
✦ Quardim: An empire with all kinds of people. It is the center of trade in Havest.
✦ Murthul: A kingdom of mostly dwarves and gnomes. It is famous for its arms and armor.
✦ Necrosis: A kingdom of the undead in the north. It is a neutral country and is the place where citizens of many countries come together to discuss subjects.
✦ Zebek: An empire with a good mix of elves, eladrin, dwarves, half-elves, humans and halflings. Zebek is being threatened with war by Grandal.
Resident Piggles Zombie piggy is eatin' your sigs om nom nom (>*o*)>
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At least one Dark Lord/Adversary. ;)

Well, to be serious, one major antagonist of the world at least.
I prefer using multiple major BBEGs that work together.
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I prefer using multiple major BBEGs that work together.

Well, it's 'good' ( : D ) that there is a certain divisity there - BBEGs may have conflicting goals; maybe there is even weird, crazy alliances possible.... And maybe one of the BBEG is a BBGG - a missaimed knight templar emperor.


Ideas thrown like that. ^^;
Some manner of giant sandwich parlor, particularly either airborne or floating on water.

Vast ruins of ancient undersea kingdoms, some of which are in salt flats where the ancient seas dried up.

Cthulhu. Every world needs Cthulhu.

Something upside-down. Maybe a mountain, maybe just a room.

A migratory forest, whose trees sometimes just pick up and walk across the continent. That or a teleporting fortress of some sort. Probably not both though.
An agressive race of humanoid, hordes o' em. ;)
Double Check that - Nations are great but rampagin anarchist huminoid hoards ... I swear by em.
A giant pig...what? I'm not the only DM that always has one. I hope...
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Front: PigKnight, One Line Poster (3W) Legendary Creature - Boar Knight Vigilance When this creature dies, return him to play and transform him. (2/3) >(5/3)< Back: (Black)ZombiePiggles, Eater of Tomato Sauce Legendary Creature - Boar Knight Zombie Trample, Intimidate B: Regenerate this creature. When this creature is the target of a white spell, transform this creature. (5/3)

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/15.jpg)

(pssst) If you don't have a giant pig - then your not really a DM
I have two trademark creatures, none of which are a giant pig.
  • Hoxen - A cross between an Ox and a horse (like an owlbear), it's also got armadillo like scales on its legs and is one of the most deadly land animals ever. Legend says that is has a "claw, claw, bite, gore, gore, rake, rake." set of attacks, with improved grab of course, but no one who's seen one fight can be made to talk about the horrific sight afterwards. They're a domestic creature that's most commonly used by peasants to pull carts.
  • "Fire Moose" (plural: Fire Meese) - Like a normal moose, but with a nasty fire breath, these pack hunting creatures live in the shadow realm and kill adventurers on sight with great tactical skill.
It depends. For 3.5 (I haven't translated it yet), I came up with a campaign world where the 'good guys' were various types of lizard-men, and the different types of humanoids (goblins, humans, etc) were evil. I based the whole setting off that.
In my first 4e campaign, the world is ruled by the Empire of Tears, an alliance of Drow and Shadar-kai. The PCs are prophacised to bring it down.
Since Pig Knight posted stuff about his world, I might as well post about mine, the Dark Age.

The Dark Age
  • The Feudal Swath: A land of small Feudal Fiefdoms that constantly make war on each other.
  • The Northern Frontier: The frozen untamed north, filled with monsters.
  • The Free Cities: A large collection of city states each with there own government that constantly war on each other.
  • The Jungles of Xen'Yuan: A massive jungle, home to Yuan-ti, Lizardfolk, and many other jungle terrors.
  • The Yuan'ti Empire: An empire ruled by Yuan-ti in the soutthern Jungles of Xen'Yuan.
  • The Xen'Lung Empire: A large, china based empire.
  • The Great Steppes: A massive empty wasteland that sperates the Eastern world from the west.
  • The Border Kingdoms (no not the FR Border Kingdoms): A collection of independent kingdoms that constantly war on each other. Based on middle-ages Arabia.
  • The Zeloth Desert: A massive desert in the southern region of the Free Cities.
  • The Inner Sea: A large salt-water lake in the Feudal Swath.
  • The Feudal States: A land of many small Feudal kingdoms, based of Japan in the shogun times.


There. Hope that shows how I made my world unique, and hope it helps make yours unique.

EDIT: See the Post your Map Thread to see my map.
A despondent giant talking pumpkin named pete whom eats people, mostly by accident.
That is actually in my world, unfortunately he is yet to be encountered.

You could dip into sci fi and steal some ideas from voyage to venus in which the land moves like the ocean with enormous waves creating mountains and valleys etc.

Would make for some interesting underground adventures at least.
A God of Hellfire!
Some draconic city no one would dare mess with.
Legends and fables. Tall tales. Too many settings are devoid of anything but the stereotypical attributes of compulsory fantasy races. The first way to dissect a culture is to look at its cautionary tales and legends.

For example, if a culture values trade that is primarily done by river, a tall tale might be about a hero who went to the rivers and sabotaged or destroyed corrupt barons' mini-fleets that were strangling traders for high taxes. Maybe later he battles a river beast and convinces it that it must keep the river flowing, or else he'd come back to kill it.

Really adds to flavor, and gives a voice to your peoples' culture instead of just the bare bones of something over-done.

Edit: Also, cultural restrictions. Some cultures on Earth are just rife with ideas for this. In feudal Europe, a person might lose a hand for stealing but stealing had its own definition separate from ours. If a wanderer picks an apple and eats it on his way by a farm it is not stealing because he could carry it on his own person and may have been hungry. In most feudal societies, one could not make eye contact with his local lord, when in his presence. Specifically, in Japan one could not turn his back to a high lord or the Emperor.

It's these things that also add flavor. Go wild with them. Give it a sense of urgency; these aren't superstitions back then, these are the ways to avoid ill favor of spirits, gods, whatever.
A city of awakened animals. Eat a hotdog there, I dare you.
Resident Piggles Zombie piggy is eatin' your sigs om nom nom (>*o*)>
MTG Card
Front: PigKnight, One Line Poster (3W) Legendary Creature - Boar Knight Vigilance When this creature dies, return him to play and transform him. (2/3) >(5/3)< Back: (Black)ZombiePiggles, Eater of Tomato Sauce Legendary Creature - Boar Knight Zombie Trample, Intimidate B: Regenerate this creature. When this creature is the target of a white spell, transform this creature. (5/3)

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/15.jpg)

A nation based off the heavy metal music genre.
Atleast one country with slavery of the worst kind with workcamps. Oh, and at least one country with the Feudal System. And a kingdom ruled by the undead.
One nation without money. Slavery is a common form of payment (I'll work for you for X years for y)
A nation based off the heavy metal music genre.

IMAGE(http://i48.photobucket.com/albums/f244/Omegachan/claimlist/Ds67.jpg)

Dark Schneider endorse this suggestion.
Atleast one country with slavery of the worst kind with workcamps. Oh, and at least one country with the Feudal System. And a kingdom ruled by the undead.

So the US? This is D&D not RL. (I'm a United Statesian BTW. American sounds like it is anyone from the western hemisphere.)
Resident Piggles Zombie piggy is eatin' your sigs om nom nom (>*o*)>
MTG Card
Front: PigKnight, One Line Poster (3W) Legendary Creature - Boar Knight Vigilance When this creature dies, return him to play and transform him. (2/3) >(5/3)< Back: (Black)ZombiePiggles, Eater of Tomato Sauce Legendary Creature - Boar Knight Zombie Trample, Intimidate B: Regenerate this creature. When this creature is the target of a white spell, transform this creature. (5/3)

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/15.jpg)

A nation based off the heavy metal music genre.

Like Karrnath in Eberron?
I think that it was Greyhawk that had a swamp that expanded by a few feet every year because it was fed by a portal to the elemental plane of water. I've never stolen that idea (yet) but I always really liked it.
I like to have flying islands, usualy a lost paradise (Shangri-la or similar); some other favorites of mine:
  • Weird mix of ecologies, for example an ancient city make of pure ice in the middle of a desert.
  • A eternal storm that travels around the world.
  • Most importat cities are build on the ruins of older cities, giving the cities a complex system of underground pasages
  • Here Be Monsters
A floating citadel in a city ruled and populated by wizards.
I've always wanted to rip off the death gate series personally. 5 seperate but interconnected worlds with their own problems, feel, and dangers.
A world down under your feet; Underdark, Hollow World, the Gargoyles's Realm, etc...
^+1.
Resident Piggles Zombie piggy is eatin' your sigs om nom nom (>*o*)>
MTG Card
Front: PigKnight, One Line Poster (3W) Legendary Creature - Boar Knight Vigilance When this creature dies, return him to play and transform him. (2/3) >(5/3)< Back: (Black)ZombiePiggles, Eater of Tomato Sauce Legendary Creature - Boar Knight Zombie Trample, Intimidate B: Regenerate this creature. When this creature is the target of a white spell, transform this creature. (5/3)

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/15.jpg)

The world is a convex disk with the "normal" world on top.

The underdark, instead of being underground, is literally the underside of the world where there are stars but the sun and the moon never shine.
"god! this is the 21st century, where is my "Choke someone through the internet" button?" - Herrozerro
World Im working on is split in into 4 sections...

Northen is a Frozen Waste, with the skeleton of a Frozen Dead Dragon at its center.

Eastern is a giant Ocean, little is know about it, has various ruins under its waves, possibly even islands.

Western is a Giant Jungle, houses Eldarin, who created Gobliniods as servents/laborers.

Center most divider beteween the other 3 is a desert, avg temp is ~140 degrees, mostly nomads, saves various way stations and a city that makes anything that has existed on earth seem small in comparison.

Southern Tip is a Block of Ice shapped like a Giant Piller.....

Thats some of the Basics, world also includes Dragon Graveyards that span miles, mountains made of crystal, pools of acid (Think Lakes of Acid), giant volcano's, a tear across the planet that seperates the northen wastes from rest of the world with a dwarven bridge contecting it, gap is several hundred miles wide...
A nation based off the heavy metal music genre.

BLATANTLY!!! I find that whenever I write something, I put on 'Raining Blood' by Slayer, if it seems appropriate as the soundtrack for a film about whatever I've just written, its clearly gold!!! At lot of 80s thrash is good D&D mood music...
A world down under your feet; Underdark, Hollow World, the Gargoyles's Realm, etc...

Understrallia
I have two trademark creatures, none of which are a giant pig.
[list]
[*]Hoxen - A cross between an Ox and a horse (like an owlbear), it's also got armadillo like scales on its legs and is one of the most deadly land animals ever. Legend says that is has a "claw, claw, bite, gore, gore, rake, rake." set of attacks, with improved grab of course, but no one who's seen one fight can be made to talk about the horrific sight afterwards. They're a domestic creature that's most commonly used by peasants to pull carts.

Nuh-uh. Combustox. Oxen prone to spontaneaously combusting. it's funny because they live in packs. CHAIN REACTION, ANYONE!?!?
Nuh-uh. Combustox. Oxen prone to spontaneaously combusting. it's funny because they live in packs. CHAIN REACTION, ANYONE!?!?

:heehee :heehee :heehee :heehee