Would you want to play this campaign?


Homebrew and House Rules


Ok so I am relatively new to Pathfinder having only played a handful of PFS games at my local gaming store over the past year. However, I did play AD&D in high school, though I never took a turn "behind the screen".

Now I have my daughter and a few of her friends interested and I am itching to take the reigns and tell a story. They all have less RPG experience than I do, having just started when I got my daughter going, and none of them have any of the books. So it should be relatively easy to run a campaign for them because the bar is set low with the lack of experience.

However, I have some great experiences on the player side of the table and want to be sure that when our campaign ends they have some of those same experiences and fond memories.

So, here is the setting for the campaign I am looking to start. Now I have to be honest, I am a little nervous putting my idea out here for all to see, so please be gentle with your comments.

The Rise of the 12 Kingdoms:

Its been over fifteen hundred years since the last dragon was seen in the world of Aruelan. The Dragon Wars are just fairy tales now but the results are still evidenced. Once great castles and strongholds and temples are today layers of rubble and dust. Great mountains have risen and deep caverns were formed at the scenes of mighty dragon battles.

In the Dragon Wars, dragon fought against dragon, races fought amongst themselves, and brother fought against brother. It was a bloody, civil war that scarred the land and all who dwelt in it.

No one remembers the cause of the Dragon War and fewer still have an idea of who won.

The only thing people are sure of is that the dragons are gone and the world is still trying to repair itself.

Immediately after the Dragon Wars was a time of chaos and strife. During the chaos the race of Gnomes was eliminated.

But in the fifteen hundred years since the end of the war a peace has finally settled over the lands. Dwarves, Elves, Humans and Haflings all get along and trade easily together. There is even an elven settlement outside one of the dwarf kingdoms. Because of this, there is rarely a settlement that doesnt have a mix of races living and working peacefully together.

The Elves and Dwarves have both re-organized their societies. The Dwarves divided into 3 mountain kingdoms and the Elves settled into their own forest kingdom. The halflings of the world have created small pockets of societies but no central ruler, preferring instead to stay within reach of one of the human strongholds or even the elf and dwarf kingdoms.

Only the humans seem to be having trouble unifying under a central ruler. Instead, over the years, 12 human strongholds have sprung up, and while not all of the rulers of these areas strive to be the King, each one has an opinion about the matter. Still, these strongholds trade easily and work together to keep the peace, often coming to each others aid should the need arise. However, some might say its the Merchant Guilds that truly hold the power, keeping trade between the strongholds open and pushing for military support when one area is in danger.

And danger still comes in many different ways.

From the north are the Kobold and Gnoll tribes, to the south the Goblin kingdoms. Over the Mountains of Kaldarol to the east are the Orc and Ogre hordes as well as the frost and hill giants that call the mountains their home. And finally in the oceans of the west are the pirates and the end of the world. Although somewhere to the west also lies the island home of the Minotaurs; fearsome sailors and renown warriors.

Flat as it is, everyone knows that if you sail to far west you will fall off the edge of the world into the deadly Astral Sea, and if you could cross over the Mountains of Kaldarol, you would eventually walk off the edge into that same Astral Abyss.

In the night sky over Aruelan are abundant stars and constellations and the ever present NightMoon. And during the day, the Sun is guided by the DayMoon.

And such is the world as you know it.

So that is my starting point. I have many plot lines that I am hoping to explore with the players and I was thinking I might 'crowdsource' some of those by posting here for additional comments and creative help.

Any way, what do you think? If you read this as is would you be interested in playing?


World ...drops off..... So you just dont want them going past that point? Seems an odd concept, but since we once believed the same, so be it.

I am always against anything that completly elimninates a race however, especially a playable one. With all their magic and trickery, do you really think ythat race could be killed off while humans survive? Doubt it, imo, but again, your story, so be it. My recommendation though would be a small change, make it "believed to be dead" I just dont see a way for gnomes to be killed off unless Drow are involved...

Halflings = spot on with how i picture them. A Map would be a nice touch for your players, given the amount of cities/strongholds and varying locales.

Elves.. damned tree huggers.

Dwarves should/would be allied with one or two of the wealthiest human populaces, due to their mercantile nature in metal and gems.

so much death and destruction, surely there are prevelent undead areas...

Otheriwse its a concise summary, very quick and to the point, not so much story based really. If thats the summary you wanted us to see, its good, even without my suggestions. If thats what you are going to read to your players... it seems lackluster. Add some details, it is a roleplaying game, they need something to roleplay towards. If you want them to be good at roleplay you need peices they can fit into. I can give you more suggestions if you want, but i am trying to be gentle :) I honestly DO like the concept as it is close to several i have made in the past though in some aspects.


Thank you so much for your input and for keeping the 'gloves' on.

It's surprising how much I just took for granted. I had it in my brain but didn't put it on paper.

I am trying to walk the fine line between creating and entire world and just creating the area that my players will be exploring.

As for the world just dropping off, this was purposeful to create since of 'this isn't earth' and I based it off the fact that we once believed the same. Should the characters venture out to sea they will in fact run into another land mass and not the end of the world. But I thought it might help them get curious about whats out there.

I have never been a fan of gnomes and was attempting to limit the available character races but you are right. I should not make the disappearance of the gnomes so finite.

The dragons are not all dead and part of the story will be finding one stuck in stasis and then eventually finding out where the rest of the dragons went off too. I have not yet decided what happened but am leaving that story line open for development.

I assumed the relationship between the Dwarves and the humans but I should state it in the campaign summary.

I didn't even give thought to undead areas.

I am working on a map. being that me and my players are all from the southeast I was actually going to use the west coast as my template. The dwarves live in the Rockies and the elves live in the redwood forests.

You said you could offer some more suggestions - I am all ears.

Thanks again.


mrunderhill wrote:
I have never been a fan of gnomes and was attempting to limit the available character races but you are right. I should not make the disappearance of the gnomes so finite.

You're within your rights as a DM to decide which races exists and which don't in your world. The fact that they're in the core rulebook doesn't give them some sort of sacred untouchable status.

Nobody ever said "hey Tolkien why are there no gnomes?"

That being said you if you really don't want them there then you may want to consider them never existing in the first place. Why make them a cliff note in your mythology?

- Torger


Seems like a regular generic fantasy world with no real unusual traits. Nothing wrong with that.
How fun it is depends entirely on what the PCs will actually be doing and who they get to interact with.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
mrunderhill wrote:
Any way, what do you think? If you read this as is would you be interested in playing?

To be absolutely fair, there's nothing particularly wrong with your setting. There's also nothing particularly compelling about it either. Your attention is spread out so far nothing has any amount of depth.

I think you need to start smaller and narrowing your focus a bit. Pick a kingdom or a smaller group of kingdoms. (What is it with the obsession on 12?!) Concentrate on it's history and character and work out the other aspects of the world based on their relationship with it.


The loss of gnomes doesn't bother me too much - but it is a popular archetype with players for some reason. Rather than write them out completely, I would either make provision for isolated settlements to have survived unknown to the other races, or roll them in with halflings and have one as a sub-race of the other.

My own home-brew setting has several sub-races of "wee folk," one of which has been described by players as the illegitimate offspring of D&D gnomes and Romany Gypsies, another which is not-very-subtly-ripped-off from the Tinker Gnomes in Dragonlance, and yet another which is superficially similar to hobbits. Then you have the Qalili'in (a halfling culture based on the bedouin who ride goats into battle) but the less said about them the better...


I kept the gnomes and ditched the halflings. Really not much reason to have both in the same world. (I also kicked the dwarves, too.)


I like--and applaud--that you are willing to explore GMing.
It is nice to see that people appreciate a good story and a solid setting.

I think that I do agree with the change to Gnomes being 'hidden' and not neccassarily eliminated. One of my favorite characters is/was a Gnome Sorceror who actually thought he was a wizard.

I also agree that you may want to scale down your 'world' view to a smaller area that your PCs will be starting in and then developing along the way. You will be surprised on how much developing comes from your players.

Too bad, it does sound like a story that I would enjoy being a part of! Have fun and good luck!


Really nice little setting you have there, but it has a small flaw in my opinion: Goblin kingdoms. Goblins don't have kingdoms, in general they have small tribes and 100 goblins pretty much means civil war. Also Goblins don't respect borders, they don't invade per say, (unless they are turned into an army by an outside influence) they just move in and start raiding. They are more of a vermin with intelligence than an actual society.

Using some other race in its place would be what I would do. Probably devil worshiping humans or some such.


LazarX wrote:


I think you need to start smaller and narrowing your focus a bit. Pick a kingdom or a smaller group of kingdoms. (What is it with the obsession on 12?!) Concentrate on it's history and character and work out the other aspects of the world based on their relationship with it.

I dont really know why I chose 12 kingdoms, I think it just had a nice ring to it. However, I am still early enough that I can trim that down if I need to. As far as starting smaller, these kingdoms are actually more like strongholds or keeps. That is part of the campaign that there are all the small pockets and eventually the PC's will unite the strongholds into one kingdom, under their own banner or perhaps that of a favored NPC.

Thank you to everyone for commenting so far. It is really helping me get an idea of my next steps to fleshing this out.

Shadow Lodge

Hogeyhead wrote:

Really nice little setting you have there, but it has a small flaw in my opinion: Goblin kingdoms. Goblins don't have kingdoms, in general they have small tribes and 100 goblins pretty much means civil war. Also Goblins don't respect borders, they don't invade per say, (unless they are turned into an army by an outside influence) they just move in and start raiding. They are more of a vermin with intelligence than an actual society.

Using some other race in its place would be what I would do. Probably devil worshiping humans or some such.

I like it. It marks the goblins of this world as clearly different to the verminous infighting pests that they are in most other settings. (That and I wish I'd done it for my own setting... but then, I also really like my Jawa Goblins.)

Look how much just changing the little bit of goblin personality and physique did for Golarion. This is the same thing for this setting.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I think it's a good first draft at a world. You've got some unique things in there that very definitely point to "This Is Not Fantasy Earth": the world is a flat space that floats in some cosmic ether, the world has two moons that spin at roughly counterbalanced intervals, and so on. The world feels like Europe several years after WWII. They're just now getting back to business as usual, and none of them want to go through the hell of that last Great War again. It sounds interesting!

The Exchange

One warning to all GMs who build their own worlds: world construction, while it's fun and fascinating, is something that should be revealed to the players only in bits and pieces, ideally when they ask for information. This allows you to change things that aren't yet set in stone; even better, it creates immersion by making the world seem big and unknown. Mention the obvious stuff (number of moons, etc.) in passing and only bring up other details as they become important. If all the characters know about far-off lands is a few snippets, there's no reason to give your players big hand-outs of info. Less, in fact, because they won't remember most of it unless/until they have good reasons to care.


It looks like a good start. When designing a world for a campaign, keep in mind that the closer you are to the players the more background you need. The kingdom they start in needs to have a great deal of detail, the kingdom in a far-off land... you can work on if they head there.

Also, everything Lincoln Hills said.


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And walking off the edge of the world you look back and see...

Titannus, greatest of the red dragons. He slumbers still, a millennia after the end of the Dragon Wars. This is not our home; we are the dreams of the slumbering wyrms; figments of their imagination to entertain them in their torpor.

And then the prophet turned, and looked forward once more. The portals of the Far Shore. The world of Was lay before them. That place is our home, where people belong. The dragons in their dreaming conjured us from that place and imprisoned us here.

The prophet turned again to the unearthly heat of Titannus' foul fume. The smoke rose to form the clouds. Why must we endure in bondage? Why can we never be free?

And the dragon's listless lips stirred. We are the Eternal; the All. In your world there is no magic, there never were dragons. In our dreams you become that which you desire; in your world you are only what fate has made you. The dragon's talon, still sleeping, pointed away across the Astral Sea and the prophet beheld the world of Was.

It was a gray world. Tall cities of stone, steel and glass where humans and only humans toiled like ants. Beasts of metal lurched in all directions in the air, on the ground and beneath it. These creatures bore the humans but this was no magic; they mechanical like the constructs of the wizards. Forests were hemmed by cities; mountains were ground down by their creations; the seas boiled from their waste. Everywhere the prophet gazed there was only certainty, monotony and inevitability.

The prophet wept at the horrible truth

We saved you, Titannus whispered, from all that Was and brought you here in our dreams. You are free to go for our Wars have ended but know this; once you leave you will awaken there, in what Was, and never will you know this world again.

...

I don't know, just grasping at straws here.

Personally I like designing whole game worlds one settlement at a time. If you're a big picture guy then so be it. I like what you've laid out so far. I'd say, with SO many things going on in the backstory, try to give ONE thing to each people/place/thing to make it stand out against the others. Like the dwarves have an intricate social structure and caste system, as designated by the knots in their beard braids; Elves entreat the seasons to abate with wine festivals; each human stronghold has some unique feature like griffon aeries or amazingly strong shields and armor.

Edit: and to answer your title...yes, I'd play this!


Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Shadow Lodge

Mark Hoover wrote:

And walking off the edge of the world you look back and see...

Titannus, greatest of the red dragons. He slumbers still, a millennia after the end of the Dragon Wars. This is not our home; we are the dreams of the slumbering wyrms; figments of their imagination to entertain them in their torpor.

And then the prophet turned, and looked forward once more. The portals of the Far Shore. The world of Was lay before them. That place is our home, where people belong. The dragons in their dreaming conjured us from that place and imprisoned us here.

The prophet turned again to the unearthly heat of Titannus' foul fume. The smoke rose to form the clouds. Why must we endure in bondage? Why can we never be free?

And the dragon's listless lips stirred. We are the Eternal; the All. In your world there is no magic, there never were dragons. In our dreams you become that which you desire; in your world you are only what fate has made you. The dragon's talon, still sleeping, pointed away across the Astral Sea and the prophet beheld the world of Was.

It was a gray world. Tall cities of stone, steel and glass where humans and only humans toiled like ants. Beasts of metal lurched in all directions in the air, on the ground and beneath it. These creatures bore the humans but this was no magic; they mechanical like the constructs of the wizards. Forests were hemmed by cities; mountains were ground down by their creations; the seas boiled from their waste. Everywhere the prophet gazed there was only certainty, monotony and inevitability.

The prophet wept at the horrible truth

We saved you, Titannus whispered, from all that Was and brought you here in our dreams. You are free to go for our Wars have ended but know this; once you leave you will awaken there, in what Was, and never will you know this world again.

=(


Couple good points here, in scaling down the "kingdom" number,if you want them to explore, dont tell them the "world drops off" tell them it is "believed the world drops off" it will increase their desire to explore.

I like the goblin kingdom, i have done a kobold kingdom before :)

Remember there are two important parts when creating a world...

Lore- History of the world as told through the generations, may or may not be true, but is almost always based in fact, should be where the game actually starts with "Campaign setting"

Facts- What the world IS. What the world is, should be explained prior to the game as a "world setting"

Seperating these two, will help you gather your thoughts and split what is, with what you want them to think. As players they should know both, but they should know what their characters know, and what their characters DON'T know.

I have ALWAYS ran my own world, i usually have a starting story, as well as prior to gaming what the world will be like, though i do rip of Toril and Eberron occasionally :) Otherwise lots of these other opinions, i agree with nearly all, except "the goblin society" they are your goblins. If they all walk around with canes and a British accent while debating philosophical quandries and dark matter, go for it!

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