Follow these tips to create a homebrew setting for Dungeons and Dragons

Photo Credit: The Relentless Dragon

Photo Credit: The Relentless Dragon

Rebecca Crannen, staff writer

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Recently, more and more people around the world are beginning to enjoy Dungeons and Dragons. Dungeons and Dragons, or D&D, is a fantasy role-playing game, originally created by Gary Gygax in the 1970s.

Dungeons and Dragons is an improv-based collaborative storytelling game where one person sets up the story while other players act as characters within the story. Now, with the game making appearances in  “Stranger Things” and “The Big Bang Theory,” and game-play podcasts like “Critical Role” and “The Adventure Zone,” the game is once again growing a fanbase.

As more people become interested in playing, many first-time Dungeon/Game Masters (the person who creates the story the players participate in) have trouble with the sheer amount of research that goes into learning about the standard in-game-location of the Forgotten Realms. The Forgotten Realms, a traditional and more popular setting, is not the only option you have.

Homebrew (original content) games are growing in popularity and intricacy as more game masters find it easier to run games in settings they create themselves. Tal’dorei, the world from “Critical Role,” has multiple continents, a rich history, a pantheon with thousands of devout followers and sprawling civilizations that make the world seem more real. How would someone running the game at home make her own setting?

  1. Start Small

Start by creating only one town and the surrounding area. Fill in a few shops, taverns and a governmental structure. Other details can come from the backstories your players should provide. Maybe their backstories will even help you create other cities. A great website to use for world building is

  1. Create a few Non-Player Characters

Who runs the tavern your adventurers start in? What about the shop down the street? Your players aren’t the only ones in the game. You have to create people to populate your city and run shops, inns and other places. Fill a notebook with basic character ideas. Maybe you can even base them on other characters from shows or books that you enjoy.

Photo Credit:Critical Role
Edit by:TheRogueEwok

  1. Expand as the Story Grows

As your players grow more powerful, they will likely want to explore the world a bit more. What other nations are there? Are they monarchies? Theocracies? Do they have a different way of living, perhaps being an agricultural society instead of a metropolis? Use different periods of Earth’s history to give you ideas.

  1. Create Conflicts

People who live differently will likely argue. Perhaps your players will get caught up in a war between two nations. What is the most common race in those cities? Do Dwarves and Elves fight often, or do both have to fight off expanding Human society?

  1. Tell a Good Story

Regardless of how intricate you make the history and politics of the world, you will always be coming up with new ideas. As you and your players create a narrative, you will find yourself spontaneously coming up with organizations, shops, villains and old heroes. It comes with playing a game as open ended as D&D. Your only limit is your imagination.

For additional tips for running your own game, or even just understanding Dungeons and Dragons more, check out this playlist from “Critical Role” Dungeon Master Matthew Mercer and “Savage Nation” Game Master Satine Phoenix.


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