D&D World Building Week, Part IV: Culture

This post is fourth in a series on creating a “homebrew” setting for a Dungeons & Dragons campaign. Readers seeking to review the series in order may wish to review Part I, Part II and Part III before continuing here.

Thus far in this series, the dungeon master (DM) has established the general concepts and scope of the campaign, developed a working map of the campaign region, designed a few major conflicts which will unfold at the start of the game and created a historical timeline, which can be used for both internal consistency and a guide for placement of settlements, ruins and adventure sites.

The next step in this process is to come up with a handful of memorable campaign cultures. Continue reading


Campaign cultures and equipment: more than dwarven axes and elvish bows

While the style of a weapon won't affect game stats, it can say a lot about your campaign.

During the course of the past several decades, fantasy games and literature have established associations between certain archetypical fantasy creatures and their equipment. Legacy and current editions of the Dungeons & Dragons game, for example, have linked elves with bows and longswords, connected dwarves with axes and hammers, and associated halflings with slings and daggers. Such archetypical armament is so deeply ingrained into gamers’ minds that it is the exception, not the rule, that makes D&D players suspicious: arm an elf with a two-handed war hammer, and many players will think it is an illusion or shape-changer.

Fortunately, the connection between campaign cultures and equipment doesn’t have to begin and end with dwarves, elves and halflings. A Dungeon Master (DM) can create similar associations for all cultures in a D&D campaign, thereby improving sense-of-place without radical changes in game mechanics; this post discusses several approaches for accomplishing the task, resulting in greater dramatic flavor in the game. Continue reading