In my career as a DM, I have created a number of fantasy settings. This post will give you a glimpse of those settings, my evolution as a worldbuilder, and a look at what’s ahead. Enjoy!
It all started here. In December of 2010, I set forth on my journey as a DM for the first time. It was also my first time playing in a D&D campaign. We had only just purchased the 4E core rulebooks the summer before and had only done one-shots up to this point. We were mostly testing the waters. But in December, the greatest campaign ever would begin. It continues to this day, although its more of a myth than reality with how little that group is able to play.
This setting grew organically. We started in the Valley of the Tors, made our way to Stallcroft, crossed the Northern Mountains to reach the Misty Kingdom, and then ventured off into the Feywild. After that, the world exploded with collaborative worldbuilding. I awarded the players with in-game rewards and XP if they helped build the wiki. See it here: https://quest-for-starfire.obsidianportal.com/
We piggy-backed off the D&D 4E standard setting and created the most wonderful place to adventure. The storyline grew epic and remains unfinished to this day. 90+ game sessions helped take this world and make it real and full of flavor and life. This stands as my favorite setting of all time.
Those of you that followed the YouTube channel during its peak and during the first episodes of Coffee & Campaign Building will be familiar with Aer. This is the setting I built during those live hangouts.
Most of Aer was built before the campaign started. I had a timeline and important historical figures to fill that timeline. I was inspired by Chris Perkins Valoreign campaign bible structure. I had two kingdoms and two large, natural regions.
I dropped the players right into the middle of a political and religious revolution to start this campaign. Although the campaign was short due to the release of D&D 5E, we will always love it. The NPCs and a few specific locations really shined in this campaign setting. Cordyr’s Coast will forever remain one of my favorite fantasy cities.
Sweet, sweet Kandalur. 6 months of only brainstorming happened before ever actually worldbuilding. 100+ hours of solid worldbuilding went into this beast before we ever started the campaign. Custom player races, homebrew rules, and more were prepared.
Two massive continents with a rich and epic history. 7 kingdoms shattered. The Everwar rages on. A dozen interesting and rich NPCs were ready for the beginning of this campaign.
I’m very proud of this setting. My worldbuilding process produced one of the richest settings that I have ever seen and enjoyed. So much was detailed yet so much was left for the players to add to. I perfected my process with Kandalur, that’s for sure.
But the greatest lesson that Kandalur taught me is that without a game, you have nothing. Unfortunately, this campaign never really took off. We had 4-5 very fun sessions but real life and schedules got in the way of getting any further. It’s a shame to see so much work and potential sit idly in the digital archives and on my bookshelf. But maybe someday, we will meet again sweet Kandalur.
Ezaros is a free supplement that I designed. Find it here:
I don’t have much emotional connection to this setting. It was more of an experiment to see how little a DM needed to feel a setting. I have no idea if this has ever been used but please let me know if you run it!
Panthea never made it beyond having a badass map.
Atheos is a dark setting (think Dark Souls) that I’m working on a for a small gaming group of friends that wants that feel. It will be used for a mini-campaign but has been quite fun to design since its different than a typical fantasy setting.
Into the Future…
I don’t know what the future holds for my worldbuilding but I have a general goal for my capstone setting as I call it. This setting would be one that allowed for years and years of play and worldbuilding. Whenever I get the urge to build the next world, this setting would suit that and allow me to keep adding to it.
But true inspiration has not struck me outside of the name. A name which I can not reveal because there is no setting behind it yet 🙂
Roll dice and have fun,
Kirk aka PhD20 aka PhDnD