Lets face it: rolling green hills, goblin infested caves, and looming frozen mountains are staples for most D&D RPGs. If you’re getting tired of these old classic settings, though, we’re here to explore some roads less-traveled with you!

A world of Water and Rock

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Imagine if the entire world was like the Caribbean Islands, a world of 99% water, where livable land masses are only a few miles long. Ships big and small might sail daily from shore to shore, visiting thousands, or even millions of islands, each with a culture of their own. They might trade exotic spices, rare items, and all kinds of trinkets and treasures. This campaign setting lends itself to a wealth of themes!

Campaign Scenario A: Could start off as some classic harmless adventuring for of a wealthy benefactor looking for something, or someone. Perhaps, otherwise, some adventuring for a merchant wishing to expand his trade routes, or even for a kingdom wanting to start colonization in far off territories . The adventurers could be travelling to the far corners of the world, encountering many exotic cultures and races, when one landing on the wrong shore finds them awakening a navy of enemies hellbent on conquering all in their path. The campaign then becomes a game of colonial war, where players win and lose islands against this seemingly unstoppable foe.

Campaign Scenario B: As outlaws, one way or another, the players are reduced to the pirate’s life. Having to raid and steal from the King and Queen’s navy, and performing stealthy captures of ocean-side keeps and castles sounds like a great time for all players.

The Frontier

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A new land, a continent full of mysterious, majestic, and untouched vistas full of wild creatures. Perhaps this was once the ancestral home of a civilization long gone, and all that remains are their great halls left in ruin. Relics from their advanced knowledge of the arcane can be found scattered in the depths of dungeons long overgrown.

Campaign Scenario A: This is an exodus from the old land to a new home -somewhere the evils of the old world won’t find. Whole flotillas of ships come over, each having their own ideas about who should lead this new land. Settlements sprout up all along the coast and start to grow, perhaps some native civilizations will help or hinder certain settlements. You start in a seed town, maybe with a boat full of other prospectors. The players could start their first session en route to the continent, making friends and enemies on the way. These new relationships might later make their way into the new town’s politics.

Campaign Scenario B: The enemy is at the gates, and without help, the country you know will be destroyed. There is a tale of a people who live beyond the tall mountains that outline your homeland. They have come to your aid once before, but their location isn’t known. The songs of the land hold cryptic details as to how they were found before. As a mighty hero, you are tasked with undertaking this journey, to traverse the thousands of miles across mountain, desert, jungle, plain, and maybe even ocean, to find the mythical Eastern warriors. The thought of failing those you left behind haunts you and pushes you relentlessly onward.

The Underworld

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Does your campaign need a new twist? Well… consider killing all your players! Seriously, sending your players to the underworld may be a fun new direction for your campaign!

Can you imagine the intricacies of planning a prison break out of hell? Among countless other damned souls, the fallen warriors are now salves under a demonic warden. The only way out is to kill the slave master and use the portal from whence they came. Can you imagine the sense of accomplishment when they escape the underworld and find themselves returned to the realm of the living?

Don’t forget to check out part one of our unique campaign ideas Here

Do you have any special settings that you’ve run in the past? Share them with us in the comments!

 

  • I’m running a campaign in “A world of Water and Rock” already. Nice change to be sailing vs. trekking across wilderness. And all new monsters and scenarios.

    • kennstan

      Tribality Love your site! Check it all the time! Yeah I have an infamous campaign in my DND circle simply called “Boat campaign” Ive been running it in some form since 2007! Its so much fun!

      • Awesome. Lots of good stuff here too. Keep it up.

    • Im definitely doing something like this for my next campaign. My game right is new players, a pretty typical DnD campaign. Inspired by this to involve sailing heavily into my next game.

      • I went from Nentir Vale to waterworld. Each island has been a little different with jungle expeditions, dungeons, an undersea shipwreck, ghost ship, port cities and caves. Next up is the human city the neighbor gnomes “helped” with steam powered public works projects. You should try it out some water for sure.

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