Campaign Journal, Entry 1
When a DM sets about creating a homebrew campaign world, he often starts from scratch. World Building is the most sublime of expression of Art, more sublime than that of depicting the naked female human in sculpture or on canvas. World Building requires a knowledge of many disciplines: geography, geology, oceanography, biology, and even physics (Quantum Physics and Relativity along with classical physics).
So where does one begin? Returning to the known lands to reconfigure the world and to define it according to new knowledge is an important start. The first place one often begins, what system should the world be used in?
A good world builder would say: Any.
The Known Lands needs it's notebook: currently, my computer system is that notebook. :) An Apple Macintosh Macbook Pro serves as my DM's Notebook. So, again, lets start somewhere simple: the hook.
I imagine the Known Lands to be the legacy of an ancient, ultra technical civilization that seeded the planet. After the civilization had fallen, there was a long night and a long spring. A dark age where ancient secrets where lost and ancient science was transformed. The civilization has become absolutely mythical in its aspect. It leaves behind powerful artifacts of powerful technologies and it's scientific knowledge of physics has become bastardized into a theory of arcane and divine magic.
Now, it is millions of years later and the people have climbed out of the Long Night and slowly into a new age of Enlightenment.
Humans are the children, the true genetic legacy, of this ancient civilization. There are three "races" of humans: the White, the Yellow, and the Black. Black humans live in the southern reaches, yellow humans migrated to the Eastern lands, and the White live in the west. Occasionally, wars brought the races together; allowing for integration at times or cultural close proximity.
Elven Paladin by ~Atlantean6 on deviantART
Elves are a genetic redesign of the human for living on another world (this world is known as Arborea). Once called the Eladrin, the forebears of the elves were forced to flee to the Known Lands after Arborea was invaded by Mind Flayers during an Interstellar War between the Mind Flayers and the Ancients. Although the Ancients managed to defeat and destroy the Mind Flayers on Arborea, the Elves had decided to stay in the Known Lands and not return. Elven creation myths tell of the great egg which their Gods had sprang forth to populate the world (an ancient racial memory of what actually happened).
orcs by ~doriefs on deviantART
Orcs are also a genetic redesign of the human. The orcs were made for living on Outland and Archaeri. They are much more monstrous, having fangs and often look much more primitive -- hearkening back to Homo erectus. This is because while the Elves were developed by scientists who believed that the human form was the crowning achievement of Creation, the orcs were developed by scientists that believed in Darwinian evolution and thought a more primitive, monstrous form would survive the planets of Outland and Archaeri.
Orcs are mostly shamanistic but many groups worship demons and seek demonic power. The orcs returned to the Known Lands as a Legion during a second Interstellar War with a powerful enemy. Like the elves, the Orcs also have creation myths that revolve around an egg. But their mythological cycle, although peaceful, has recently included great violence and bloodshed.
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More Races -- >