View Full Version : Homebrew Setting - Erra in need of Ideas

Arian Dynas
2011-12-20, 06:05 AM
Greetings and good tidings to the Playground.

I am a longtime lurker (been hanging around since '06 at least, maybe longer, my memory for specific dates gets foggy after the last few years)
and have decided to come and seek the aide of good old fashioned D&D fanatics.

For the period of about 10 years now (which is to say, since I was 9) I have been writing a series of books, high fantasy, with a great deal of time and thought sunk into them. Now I've loved D&D for most of my life due to the influence of my brothers, but only recently have gotten a chance to run a game where I actually KNOW what I am doing.

A friend of mine had been long thrown of D&D by a bad DM and recently, I jonesing to run a fantasy RPG game with stricter rules than BESM offered D&D. To my suprise he accepted, and then I made my first mistake. I offered "So do you wanna run this in the Forgotten Realms Setting? Or my own Homebrew." Not really expecting him to say homebrew, he called my bluff and I found myself having to draw on a book series that I have been cooking for quite a long time.

The problem is, The Setting of " -The Books of [Insert Precious Metal Here]-" does not mesh well with D&D, the magic is not Vancian (if anything I'd call it Deverian, being, derived from the writings of English Author Joe Dever), the monsters are based off Celtic myth with Norse, Greek, a dash or two of Chinese, Japanese, and a few other "what-have-you"s all cooked together in a stewpot of ideas, The setting itself is more "Dark Fantasy" with the "Realistic Fantasy" Chic of authors like R.R. Martin and my own personal knowledge of Dark/Middle ages Europe, with a few dashes of steampunk and gunpowder here and there and a fairly morally ambiguous kind of setting (really I only use alignments for spell effects and such anyway and in that context they're fairly easy to generalize).

So in short it's a bit of a mess, and I am left figuring out how to fit D&D rules (the only kind of D20 ruleset I have availble, so please no suggestions of rulesets, I simply can't afford them being a poor college student) to a decidedly not typical D&D 3.5 setting. And considering it's taken me 10 years to write this much setting, I'm really not in for writing my own system either.

So, help me out? I am using this forum to bounce ideas off of, and if you guys don't mind, take ideas to nurture and morph a little bit.

All of my ideas are my own unless inspirations are credited, in which event they belong to that person. Please, do me a kindness and allow me to trust you with 10+ years of my life, do not steal any of my work, if you are inspired by it, please do, take it and make it your own, but no copying please.

First Issue - Magic
How can I make magic in my setting work to D&D? THe Way magic works on Erra has yet to be fully crystallized (i've been focusing on a few other things a bit more central to the setting) but the basic gist is it follows a few rules thus far;

Magic is not an inborn process, anyone can use it, provided they've the skill

Magic is a physical manipulation of the world for a desired effect from the user.

It may or may not make use of words of power, gestures or rituals (probably yes, need some kind of trigger after all)

Magic when used, can be used as many times per day as the mage wills, as long as his will holds out (more on that in a moment)

When being used, magic HURTS, there is no "physical" damage, such as cuts or bruises, but use of magic causes pain in the user, so magic users must build up a pain tolerance (i'm figuring concentration checks that if failed result in health loss when using magic)

A mage who is insensitive to pain may effectively use magic without detriment, barring the one caveat that too much pain, whether felt or not will kill due to nervous system overload

Mages still must learn spells in the normal fashion

Intelligence is still a vital part of magic, not just any idiot has the ability

Not sure of a "source" yet, the mage's body? Bargains with eldritch creatures via spells?

Bloodmagic is possibly taboo, not sure yet, still thinking.

Issue Two - Monsters and Races
I have the usual races, Men, Elves and Dwarves, but each with a slightly diffrent twist than usual.

THe average Dwarf height is around five feet, they usually tend more toward skill at engineering and smithing than anything else, their cities are basically steampunk, but your average dwarf is uneducated, due to the ruling class (the Council of 13 Magisters) continuing to keep power by ensuring they are the only ones with knowledge of Dwarven engines, such as steam enginces, gunpowder, ect. Their culture is a mish mash of germanic, norse, and celtic, they are fertile with humans, so half dwarves are absolutely a possibility, they are also an endangered spceies, their access to high technology (by comparison) being the only thing keeping them from being wiped out. Dwarven phisiology is still sturdily built, just less squat and cliche. Probably stick with the old fashioned dwarf and swap loss of dexterity for an intellegence penalty, and remove the magic resistance, there do be dwarven mages here.

Take any culture from the high medieval period and I've got an equivalent, either in mish-mash or their own right, the majority of animals are either, real life animals, prehistoric equivalents (like the Irish Hart, which was basically a giant stag) or classical fantasy critters, such as unicorns (in the old world sense of lion's tails and occasional goring).

Elves are fairly aloof, but not quite so snooty as most other settings, they are not fond of humans, but this mostly stems from a series of wars that cost them their empires, they are effectively humanistic greeks mixed with the Sidhe of celtic myth, a dash of old german beleifs of fairies, some japanese and chinese elements (they use Shuko in combat for one) and a few classical bits of modern fantasy, they're divided into two factions, the Seelie, usually seen as "good" (usually) and the Unseelie, whom are primarily considered evil, these are political factions, not races, probably stick with the normal elven template but remove the immunity to sleep and "trance" bits (those annoyed me, such a dumb idea) Also, elves usually live only twice as long as humans here, so a 18 year old elf is only physically (and sometimes, but not usually) mentally 9. Some elves have the ability to shapeshift into animals as per the old druid thing.

Also, forgot to mention, all races, barring a few exceptions that arose naturally, or came about from "other things" , are all the result of a war between the first children of the gods (contemporaries of dragons, whom I will probably represent via normal dragons, irrespective of colour, natural spirits who arose from the death of the primogenitor god/ the earth personification, represented by dryads, green men, shambling mounds, yada yada yada,) Those children of the gods (still working on a name less generic than "The Ancients") eventually were taken from Erra by the gods so as to cause no further harm to the earth-who-is-their-father, and made into their servants in the divine realms, where they contuniue their civial war as angels, daemons and genies respectively, each one divided neatly along their political factions, problem is I am not sure how to represent them, most likel just picking the most generic D&D demons I can (devils too), adding in other, more classical evil outsiders, and possibly modifying some various abberations to represent them, such as Nishurru (demons and angels in my setting can tak whatever shape they damn well please, ranging from a cloud of red smoke, to a human woman in skimpy, impractical armor, to a great flaming wheel spoked with eyes.)

Nature spirits are farily simple, there are no lycanthropes, but there are "beast folk" of various types, including wolves and centaurs who arose from *cough* "relations" between druids and animals, they share a kinship with elves, elves originally coming from the coupling of [insert earlier race still thinking up the name of here, see above] and nature spirit, with other races coming about as natural births (from ancients), creations of the people themselves and so on.

Golems are intellegent, a natural species and more in line with Jewish myth (a rabbi creating life in the manner that Yaweh did, only far lesser) but they are rarely seen, slowly dying out with their larger cousins (collosi) probably best represented as warforged, or some variation, maybe even just modify the golem base critter.

Sentient automatons are similar, being creations of the dwarves that have gained sentience from "experience" and emotions directed towards them over the course of hundreds of years, once again, probably warforged.

Elementals are present, but rather than coming from an elemental plane they are instead derived from the very substance of nature itself.

Vampires and lycanthropes are represented by a race of my creation called the Vendygo ( a variation of the term Wendigo) who are a chinese+russian+vampire mythos kind of thing, did the idea of vampire "do's and don't's" being social taboo as opposed to actual physical inabilty, such a having a thing about having to be invited in to enter a home
the caveat of all this, drinking blood is taboo in their culture and they all treat themselves and others like hemophilliacs, due to the fact of, the taste of blood, even their own causes them to undergo a physical change that turns them into rampaging beasts that their army uses as insane shock troops.

Undead and such can be both intellegent (ranging from naturaly rising to self made, to the creation of demons) and nonsentient.

Orcs and such races are represented by the Ghule (still looking for a better name) a human offshoot that is basically the savage warrior barbarian/cannibal archetype, mixed with a slight (very slight) amount of native american chic, a good smattering of Chaos from Warhammer (mutations, and similar things mostly) whom are known for burning books due to the beleif that they are releasing knowledge "trapped" in the books back into their air. Prolly using a +1 wisdom bonus due to their misunderstood "zen" outlook (no they are not "noble savages" they are undeniably deserving of the title savage, but are no less or more noble than any of my other humans, whom on the whole usually tend to no paticular outlook whatsoever) and a -1 intellect penalty due to their lack of education.

Issue Three - Epicness

I've found I'm fairly good at making interesting little things, but not so much on huge epic things, and considering the scale of Erra (the planet) is about on par with being 2-3 times the size of the earth, with two orbiting moons, I got plenty of space for huge epic things and epic architecture, but not really sure how to go about conveying the sheer size and impressiveness of a mountain range and still make it mesh with the rest.

So yeah, those are my issues, also, I am working on homebrew prestige classes and character class replacements, such as the [I]Erran Mage, Dwarven Magister, and Charlatan (My alternative clerics, normal clerics only follow one god, the judeo-christian equivalent, because he's the only god still around, others are mages pretending to do miracles (because arcane magic can heal here) and basically doing it via a mixture of trickery, charisma and magic, so potentially a bard equivalent)

So, hit me with ideas people. Even bad ones can get a thought going. Also, forgive me if I am rambling it's 2AM here so... yeah.

2011-12-20, 07:58 PM
The Mod They Call Me: Duplicate thread.