Campaign setting creation in 5e dnd | Basic Guide

Campaign setting creation 5e dnd

Campaign setting creation in 5e d&d

There are many strange and beautiful places in the universe of Dungeons & Dragons. The official D&D world-building materials offer a wide range of settings and locations. So let us start campaign setting creation in 5e dnd. You can hold your campaign in either a small village with gnomes or in a prison that has the evilest sentient beings. D&D is a popular roleplaying game because of the variety of locations that players can visit on their adventures.

When it comes to Dungeons & Dragons, the term “settings” can be a bit confusing. It can also refer to whole planes of existence or single continents. It is not the setting’s size or geographic location that sets it apart, but instead what it can offer compared to its contemporaries. While The Forgotten Realms represents one dimension of the D&D universe’s existence, there are many other settings available for players to explore. These include bustling cities teeming with political intrigue and terrifying, desolate deserts populated with beasties.

Best Dungeons & Dragons Campaign setting creation in 5e

Sword Coast: This large stretch of coastline is located in Faerun and contains one of the most famous locations in D&D’s history, the city of Waterdeep.

Avernus is the first layer of the Nine Hells of Baator. This fiery land is home to all kinds of devils, demons and can manipulate, betray, and kill unsuspecting visitors.

Icewind Dale: The arctic tundra is dangerous and can be deadly for anyone who dares to venture into its snowy depths.

Theros: This Magic: The Gathering world is heavily inspired by the history and culture of ancient Greece. It’s brought to life in a D&D setting.

Eberron is a steampunk-inspired world that takes place in the world Khorvaire. Players can expect to fly in airships and meet dinosaurs.

Saltmarsh: A small fishing village is located along the Azure Sea coast. Smugglers are destroying their idyllic lifestyle and making it worse.

Wildemount is a continent in Exandria – it was created by Critical Role DM Matthew Mercer. This setting is home to all kinds of fascinating cultures.

Your favorite part about the fantasy roleplaying game is what will determine which D&D settings speak to you. One of the more hostile locales on this list might be the best for you if you are looking for dangerous encounters with dangerous beasts. You might also be interested in meeting friendly people, which means that you will benefit from visiting places where some people and animals don’t just want to stab you right away. This list has a mix of both, with some settings offering conflict and peace depending on your activities. Use our guidebook to find the best Dungeons & Dragons settings to help you choose your next Dungeons & Dragons location.

D&D Campaign setting creation 5e

The New Player’s Guide is your first stop in your journey to D&D. It includes advice for new players and Dungeon Masters looking to take their campaign to the next level. You can see all the articles in the New Player’s Guide series by clicking on the tag. For the full details on playing D&D and the best advice, click the New Player Guide link at the top of the page.

That is the New Player’s Guide Series for Dungeon Masters starting their first campaign. Although you might have chosen your first adventure and may even have begun to plan future adventures, there is one problem—the world. Most DMs will run Lost Mine of Phandelver. It doesn’t matter that the adventure takes place in the Forgotten Realms since Phandalin is isolated from the rest of the world. You now have to decide if you want to continue playing in the published setting or create your own.

Why use a published setting?

Both were using pre-made campaign settings, and making your own is not without their pitfalls. If you want to create a world that feels natural, homebrewing a setting can be a tedious task. You will always have a source of inspiration, such as the Forgotten Realms setting. Books like Sword Coast Adventurers Guide, which covers the lands along the Sword Coast, as well as adventures like Waterdeep, Dragon Heist, Baldur’s Gate, Descent into Avernus, and Storm King’s thunder, can be used to provide mini-setting guides that show the places where their stories are set. The default setting for D&D is the Forgotten Realms. It means that most published adventures are set there. It’s straightforward to run an adventure or mix and match parts of the published one without any lore issues.

Homebrew Campaign 5e

Suppose you are planning to run your homebrew campaign. In that case, however, the campaign settings of published campaigns can get in your way. It’s not easy to find enough information about the world to create your setting. However, it is almost as challenging to find enough information about the Forgotten Realms to conduct a lore-faithful campaign there. There have been many thousands of words written about the Realms since its inception in the late 1970s. It is difficult to ignore the weight of canon. Even though D&D encourages you to make your own stories, canon not being a problem, some DMs will still have a strong desire to keep the lore accurate. Although the books will encourage you to ignore this voice, it is a constant demon of your mind.

That is not a matter of canon. For example, “How common are dragons within the Realms?” What if they disappear from the world and then suddenly return, like Skyrim?” A setting with a lot of history is filled with legendary characters with incredible power, none more famous than the epic-level wizard Elminster. Each campaign set in the Realms should answer the question, “Why is Elminster not solving this?”

Eberron and Wildemount, which are newer settings, feel the canon tyranny less than the Realms. However, the weight isn’t gone completely. You can create your campaign settings, and you are free from the restrictions of the canon. You can also freely pillage from any campaign setting. You don’t need the lore to get the robot warforged and shapeshifting changing races from Eberron: Rising from The Last War. You can buy them separately through the D&D Beyond Marketplace for just two dollars each. If you don’t like the Eberron lore about warforged and changelings, you could create your own. You can still give your players the ability to make changeling or warforged characters in the D&D Beyond Character Builder.

What’s your decision? 

Are you looking for a place where you can do all the work but still find that information? Do you prefer it to take you to the setting you choose, where all the work is done for you? Let’s say you chose the second option. Here are some steps to get there. You don’t have to select the second option. There is plenty of information below that will help your players learn the setting.

Start small

Setting up a world is the best advice anyone can offer. It is essential to start small. D&D can seem as significant as you could imagine. It’s easy to eat more than you can chew. It’s easy to waste time at the beginning of your campaign if you focus on details that aren’t important for your campaign for weeks or months. Geopolitics at the national level, gods and archfiends, and planes are all exciting topics to consider.

They are, unfortunately, a waste of time for most DMs. Many D&D campaigns stop around three months. The game loses its spark, and people focus on their jobs, school, or social lives outside of the game. After three months of playing, if your game had all its characters at the 1st level, it will likely be at least 5th level. It’s a waste of all the effort you put into nation-level stuff. You can either put it in a folder or repurpose it with another group. It’s frustrating in any case.

Start small for your campaign setting creation in 5e dnd. You can be creative but not limit your creativity so you can make the small-scale start of your campaign exciting. The other factor that can lead to a group falling apart is losing interest in small-scale things. A D&D group won’t be saved by all the geopolitics and cool gods of the world if it can’t find anyone to interact with at their level. Players will notice if the DM doesn’t care. That is when fatigue sets in, and players begin to miss sessions. That is not the fault of anyone, but there are things you can do to change it.

How to Create a Settlement for a dnd Campaign?

Your first adventure should begin where? Most campaigns start with a town such as Phandalin, in the Starter Set adventure Lost Mine of Phandelver, or the Essentials Kit adventure Dragon of Icespire Peak. Any DM who is interested in creating their campaign world will find inspiration in Phandalin’s adventures. The entire map is smaller than 1000 feet in width and less than half the area. There are 30-40 houses, and less than 25% of these places are attractions for adventurers. Consider each of the following five locations when you are creating the town where your adventure will begin. These are all popular destinations for adventurers. Having them ready ahead of time will allow you to improvise if your players decide to ignore your quests and explore the world you have created.

  1. Unified safety guarantee
  2. It is where you can find things to do
  3. An area to purchase gear
  4. A place to spend money on pleasure
  5. Unique to the town

These are your gameplay fixtures. These will make your game run smoothly. Now, think about the story details for your settlement.

Campaign Setting creation 5e questionnaire

  • Who lives here?
  • What are the problems with this settlement?
  • What is the climate and geography of this settlement?
  • When was this settlement established?
  • What was the purpose of this settlement?

These storytelling details will allow you to have enough information to answer any questions your players may ask about the town. These details will be a great source of information to help you get started.

For more information on creating a settlement-sized area to host your D&D campaign, see chapter 5 of The Dungeon Master’s Guide.

Zone of Ten Miles

Once you’ve created a settlement in your mind, it is possible to expand your world to encompass a 10-mile radius around the location. This small area is enough to allow adventurers to explore the territory you have created while staying at your settlement. Adventurers need to have a home base. They provide a safe place to explore, get more quests or hear rumors about nearby areas.

When creating wilderness around your settlement, the first thing to do is draw a map. That will allow you and your players to see the world as it is. Your map will be made with square graph paper. Even though the advice suggests a 10 mile radius, it is easier to create a map 10x10x10x10 inches in height and 10x10x10x10x10x10x10x10x20x20x20 than to create a circular circle. For overland maps, old-school gamers and published adventures prefer hexagons or “hexes” to squares. However, it is fine to use squares in your regional map.

Each square is equal to one square mile. It gives you a total of 100 square miles of land. Do you find it difficult to imagine how much land could be contained in 100 square miles? Use Google Maps’ Measure Distance feature to get a reference point. Ten miles, for example, is the distance between Renton, WA headquarters of Wizards of the Coast and downtown Seattle, WA. A square with ten miles per side can be created, which is roughly equal to the entire east side and most of Lake Washington and Lake Sammamish. That can be done in your state or country. So what do you think about campaign setting creation so far in dnd? Can you do it? Surely you can.

A group of adventurers can travel approximately 24 miles per day on horseback or foot and regularly move for 8 hours. If their home base is located in the middle of the 10-mile-by-10-mile square, they can travel to any point on the map, do some adventuring, then return to their base within a day. It makes it easy to create episodic adventures for new players as they get used to D&D.

For more information on creating a map of your province for your D&D campaign, visit chapter 1 in the Dungeon Master’s Guide.

Map creation dnd

Once you have your local map, you can begin to add geography. You can now think about the type of biome your town is located in–forested or hilly, mountainous and desert, river land lakeside, ocean-side or underground. It is possible to add a few landscapes to your map without making it feel too chaotic or random. Although lakes, forests, mountains, and mountains go well together, adding a desert to the mix will make your map feel cluttered.

You can draw the landscape as you like or use your map. You could also create a symbol to represent each biome. For example, a tree represents forests, three lines representing a river, and three lumps representing hills. You may place the symbol in each square to indicate that a square mile has trees or a river running through it. Any square without a sign is filled with grasslands, snowfields, or desert sand.

You can now create points of interest using your local geographic map, just as you did for your settlement. Adventurers need different things to interact with the wilderness than towns. Draw a symbol for the territory in the middle of the map. These are the four types of locations every wilderness map should include.

  • Village
  • Town
  • Settlement abandoned
  • Mysterious location
  • Dungeon

Villages are small communities of less than 1,000 people. One 100-square-mile area can support six villages of subsistence farmers and one town with up to 6,000 inhabitants. An elder or other traditional leader is the most common way to rule a village. A city might have its mayor or even minor nobles as its ruler. A village may be used as your home base for your campaign. Once the adventurers become influential and well-known, they will move on to a nearby town. Adventurers will gravitate to cities because they don’t sell high-end adventuring gear that costs more than three gp. Every week, a village representative visits the town to sell goods.

Although a village is relatively safe, monstrous raiders often attack them because they aren’t as well-defended as towns. It makes them attractive for low-level adventurers looking for mercenary work. However, they are not guaranteed a safe night’s sleep.

An abandoned settlement is a place that was once inhabited but has been abandoned. It could be due to war, plague, or some other mysterious reason. There are many places that adventurers can shelter in abandoned fortresses, villages, and campsites. These abandoned places could be haunted or used as lairs or camps by bandits of any humanoid species or little monsters such as ankhegs, giant spiders, or rust monsters. Your 10-mile-zone map may contain five to six abandoned locations. If these monsters are native to the biome you have created, they will feel more natural. Appendix B of The Dungeon Master’s Guide contains a list of Monsters by Environment. Make sure you choose monsters appropriate to your party’s level. You can use the D&D Beyond Encounter Maker to ensure that your encounters aren’t too difficult or easy.

A mysterious location is difficult to understand. The characters may wonder when they find the location, what it is, and why. It may be essential to give a reason for this location, or you could find an oddity in your campaign setting that you will later explain. Villagers can share these places through local legends or rumors. Maps can contain one location or more.


A dungeon can be more than a bandit camp or monster lair. A dungeon has at least five interconnected rooms. A dungeon is a home to something large and powerful, such as a young green dragon or an ettin. It also has many minions and traps in its rooms. For more information about creating dungeons, see chapter 5 of The Dungeon Master’s Guide. You should only include one dungeon within your 10-mile radius. That is something the players can aim to clear. They may also make multiple intrusions into the Dungeons as they explore the area, returning in and out as their levels increase.

See chapter 5 of The Dungeon Master’s Guide Mapping a Wilderness for more information on filing your provincial-sized map with exciting places.

Go Larger for your campaign setting creation.

A map this large can easily accommodate ten adventure games depending on your interest and the interests of your players. Your players will eventually want to explore the rest of the world. You can now scale up your map to a 100-mile radius map of kingdoms, while your original map is a 10-mile square on the larger map. Once they are interested in your map beyond the kingdom scale, zoom in once more to a continent-scale map measuring 1000 miles.

Examples of Flesh out Race and Class

Now, it’s time for you to consider where your core races are located in your setting. These examples of points of origin are not meant to be exhaustive. They’re just intended to help your players get started. Where are humans found? Are wood elves found in exotic jungles or great forests? Are mountain dwarves just as prominent as hill-dwarves in the world? Are there halfling communities along the beautiful rivers bordering human lands? Provide a point for each core race from the fifth edition as a starting point—the Players Handbook. You can also include them alongside other standard races (e.g., warforged, minotaurs, or goliaths). It gives players something to work with or build upon when they are just beginning in your world. Encourage your characters to create unique points of origin. Build your world together!

Now that you have many points of origin for racial groups, it is time to start looking at origin issues for core classes. Are there any places that are rife in barbarians? Are bards more likely to live in cities than on the continent? That is a famous wizard school in your world. Add one or more points to origin for each class to your campaign guide. You’re almost done!

In Summary

Campaign setting creation in 5e dnd is essential for homebrew. Some cases will be loved by your players, while others you’ll be the only one who reads it. It doesn’t matter if you are creating a document containing the most basic information about your campaign or for your players to refer to occasionally. It is important. Keep this in mind:

  1. Add three paragraphs to the description of your setting. What makes it different from other settings?
  2. The campaign should be dated. What were the most important events that occurred in recent years? What is happening right now?
  3. Your map should be prominently displayed! People love to see the setting in which they are playing.
  4. So everyone is aware of what your setting entails, you can list the essential tenets.
  5. Use your map to show examples of points of origin for classes and races. It will give you and your players plenty of plot ideas and hooks.
  6. In your campaign setting creation in 5e dnd, you may include the deities and divine forces that give power and hope to many people.