Dungeon Master's Guide 5E

(Jeff_L) #1
the place where adventures happen. Even
if you use an existing setting, such as the
Forgotten Realms, it becomes yours as you
set your adventures there, create characters
to inhabit it, and make changes to it over
the course of your campaign. This chapter is all about
building your world and then creating a campaign to
take place in it.

The Big Picture

This book, the Player's Handbook, and the Monster
Manual present the default assumptions for how the
worlds of D&D work. Among the established settings of
D&D, the Forgotten Realms, Greyhawk, Dragonlance,
and Mystara don't stray very far from those
assumptions. Settings such as Dark Sun, Eberron,
Raven loft, Spelljammer, and Planescape venture further
away from that baseline. As you create your own world,
it's up to you to decide where on the spectrum you want
your world to fall.


The rules of the game are based on the following core
assumptions about the game world.
Gods Oversee the World. The gods are real and
embody a variety of beliefs, with each god claiming
dominion over an aspect of the world, such as war,
forests, or the sea. Gods exert influence over the world
by granting divine magic to their followers and sending
signs and portents to guide them. The follower of a god
serves as an agent of that god in the world. The agent
seeks to further the ideals of that god and defeat its
rivals. While some folk might refuse to honor the gods,
none can deny their existence.
Much of the World Is Untamed. Wild regions
abound. City-states, confederacies, and kingdoms
of various sizes dot the Ia ndscape, but beyond their
borders the wilds crowd in. People know the area they
live in well. They've heard stories of other places from
merchants and travelers, but few know what lies beyond
the mountains or in the depths of the great forest unless
they've been there themselves.
The World Is Ancient. Empires rise and fall, leaving
few places that have not been touched by imperial
grandeur or decay. War, time, and natural forces
eventually claim the mortal world, leaving it rich with
places of adventure and mystery. Ancient civilizations
and their knowledge survive in legends, magic
items, and their ruins. Chaos and evil often follow an
empire's collapse.
Conflict Shapes the World's History. Powerful
individuals strive to make their mark on the world, and
factions of like-minded individuals can alter the course
of history. Factions include religions led by charismatic
prophets, kingdoms ruled by lasting dynasties, and
shadowy societies that seek to master long-lost magic.
The influence of such factions waxes and wanes as

they compete with each other for power. Some seek to
preserve the world and usher in a golden age. Others
strive toward evil ends, seeking to rule the world with
an iron fist. Still others seek goals that range from
the practical to the esoteric, such as the accumulation
of material wealth or the resurrection of a dead god.
Whatever their goals, these factions inevitably collide,
creating conflict that can steer the world's fate.
The World Is Magical. Practitioners of magic are
relatively few in number, but they leave evidence of
their craft everywhere. The magic can be as innocuous
and commonplace as a potion that heals wounds to
something much more rare and impressive, such as a
levitating tower or a stone golem guarding the gates
of a city. Beyond the realms of civilization are caches
of magic items guarded by magic traps, as well as
magically constructed dungeons inhabited by monsters
created by magic, cursed by magic, or endowed with
magical abilities.

IT's YouR WoRLD _______ _
In creating your campaign world, it helps to start with
the core assumptions and consider how your setting
might change them. The subsequent sections of this
chapter address each element and give details on how to
flesh out your world with gods, factions, and so forth.
The assumptions sketched out above aren't carved
in stone. They inspire exciting D&D worlds full of
adventure, but they're not the only set of assumptions
that can do so. You can build an interesting campaign
concept by altering one or more of those core
assumptions, just as well-established D&D worlds have
done. Ask yourself, "What if the standard assumptions
weren't true in my world?"
The World Is a Mundane Place. What if magic is rare
and dangerous, and even adventurers have limited or no
access to it? What if your campaign is set in a version of
our own world's history?
The World Is New. What if your world is new, and
the characters are the first of a long line of heroes?
The adventurers might be champions of the first
great empires, such as the empires of Netheril and
Cormanthor in the Forgotten Realms setting.
The World Is Known. What if the world is completely
charted and mapped, right down to the "Here there be
dragons" notations? What if great empires cover huge
stretches of countryside, with clearly defined borders
between them? The Five Nations of the Eberron setting
were once part of a great empire, and magically aided
travel between its cities is commonplace.
Monsters Are Uncommo"n. What if monsters are
rare and terrifying? In the Ravenloft setting, horrific
domains are governed by monstrous rulers. The
populace lives in perpetual terror of these darklords
and their evil minions, but other monsters rarely trouble
people's daily lives.
Magic Is Everywhere. What if every town is ruled
by a powerful wizard? What if magic item shops are
common? The Eberron setting makes the use of magic

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