When last I left off I promised some of the ideas I had for the setting I would be presenting my players. Unfortunately I got sick shortly after, but I am back now. I must admit, writing these out is only in part for the consumption of others. I also am doing this to force myself to actually write out my ideas rather than letting them fester in my mind. That way I might actually make progress.
Where to Begin?
First and foremost: What world are we playing in? Dungeons and Dragons has a large number of established worlds with their own societies, power structures, threats, etcetera. So which one am I using? None of them and all of them. And just to cut off the D&D experts in the crowd, no this is not a plane shift campaign (if you don’t know what that is, don’t worry about it). Let me explain.
Objectives and Solutions
I had a simple objective when creating this world: Give my players an excuse to go dungeon diving. Inspired by a couple of fantasy stories I have been following, I started with the idea of Dungeons that self generated. But why would that happen? Magic obviously, but the more specific the better. And so I created an “Island”, on this island dungeons spontaneously generate with magic items at their core. Retrieve the item and the dungeon begins to collapse. What is in the dungeon? Almost anything from a classic stone dungeon filled with skeletons, to a cave with goblins and wolves, all the way to a full on “who done it” murder mystery.
You might have noticed I put “island” in quotation marks, that is because this island is on the larger size of that description. Somewhere between the size of New Zealand and Madagascar. AKA more than enough space to have just about anything show up. But where would this “anything” come from? Anywhere.
A little more backstory. In the lore of D&D there are multiple worlds, literally different planets, that compose what is called the “mortal plane”. Surrounding that are the other planes of existence, ranging from the Feywilds, to the Shadowfell, to the Elemental Planes, all the way to the outer planes of Order-Chaos and Good-Evil. Why is this relevant? Well, the back story for my island goes something like this.
One day, a new island was discovered. No island should have been there, and it was too large to have gone unnoticed until now. Upon landing and exploring the island, the first explores found others doing the same. These people were strange, just a bit “off” from what was expected. But the Wizards of the expeditions all came to the same conclusion: they had each come from another world. It turns out that this island was somehow connected to multiple worlds of the Mortal Plane. Further investigation proved that this island in fact was connected to ALL the planes of existence. Upon discovering the dungeon phenomenon a kind of “gold rush” began. Spearheaded by adventures this gold rush was targeting not gold, but the far more valuable magic items at the core of the dungeons.
With this set up I establish a few things. First a “sandbox” environment where anything can happen and the players are free to do just about anything. Next is two clear objectives: get loot and learn the mysteries of the island. And finally it makes the only requirement for a character created for this campaign to be “a reason to come to this island” place of origin, backstory, species, almost nothing is off the table as long as they have a reason to come here.