This world design is going to be...annoying to read. Because I'm starting by throwing out random thoughts and themes that appeal to me and that I want in a world. Only after I've completely thought everything through will I actually go about making the world in a more...formal manner. Essentially, you guys will see this from the drafting stage onward.
Now, I'll be posting whenever I have time, and have things that I thought about. Which means that the campaign setting won't be contained within a juicy first couple of thoughts. It'll be a bunch of silly little nuggets scattered everywhere. Once this is finished, I'll re-post everything all neat and tidy in a brand new shiny thread, but until then I'll just use a table of contents to link to all of the posts with important information.
First things first:
-I'll be using 3.5 D&D as the system of choice. Whatever sourcebooks feel appropriate will be tossed in, and the DM is (obviously) welcome to include anything he feels is missing.
want to avoid making "just another high fantasy setting" where every elf and dwarf nation is identical (or there's just one nation for each race) and the humans have a big old feudal kingdom and then one exotic (yet familiar) culture (e.g. Greek). That isn't to say I won't draw from those cultures - far from it. I just don't want it to be England but wizards, and an elven nation.
-It'll be low magic, or specifically, magic will be rare. This is mostly to avoid any tippyverseness (not to say that the tippyverse isn't wonderful, it's just not what I'm aiming for).
Actual campaign building time!
The first constant I've decided on is a triad, or a quarter, or something like that, of beings who appear throughout history constantly. They seem to be at the center of every major event, never quite the cause, but never completely removed. I even decided on one of them (in fact, he inspired this world building stuff). Trilleno. He always appears as a zanni character, never very important, until he's critically important. Most mysteriously, he exists in history far before the concept of a Harlequin type person exists.
First thoughts: The Beginning of Civilization
My world's Mesopotamia, Indus River Valley, or Egypt. There needs to be some sort of primeval civilization, a root of the world.
Buuuuuuut inventing a culture is hard
SO the first civilization wasn't human. It was dwarven. Why? Early "earth" simply did not have
any considerable amount of fertile soil, and for humans to create civilization as we know it, they need agricultural. So the first humans are hunter gatherers.
Here comes the dwarves (YAY). Now, I've always liked the idea of a race that spends its time largely underground, searching for precious jewelry and pretty stones, but it's silly that they do it because they think rocks are pretty. Humans think diamonds are pretty too, after all. Rather, in this setting, the dwarves actually eat the rocks. They don't even need to drink water (hence, no early river valley civilizations). Precious gemstones will later become like delicacies for them, but
in a primitive world with little luxury time nobody worries about delicacies, do they? Early humans didn't worry about how their food tasted, they just were grateful to eat (as far as I know). So the early dwarves didn't mine for the rocks.
But remember how there isn't any fertile soil? Because the surface of the land where early dwarves and human hunter-gatherers existed was rocky, of course! So the dwarves slowly begin to settle around mountains, tribes begin roaming there more frequently. A couple hundred years, and the dwarves have settled by the tastiest veins they can find. The earliest cities are high up, more or less isolated from each other, based solely on a single food with a single source, and far away from the human hunter-gatherers.
Now, the next thing that happens is, of course, warfare. It always seems to follow settlement. The dwarves aren't particularly...deadly, at first though. Stone is a food. The idea of using it to bash heads in is just silly! People don't thwack each other with stale bread. So the earliest weapons that the dwarves invent are...slightly pointy wooden sticks. And very strong teeth. And they start to fight with them.
But wait! The humans are hunters. Clearly, they have something better then a pointy stick. Why, they have spears with stone tips, and slings, and even the occasional dagger.
To be continued...
Please comment any feedback or thoughts you have! I'm trying to write stuff out chronologically and as it occurs to me, so that the world evolves more naturally but...it's very rambly. Sorry about that.