A Millenia Before Waterdeep

I’ve recently begun a Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition campaign, and I’ve decided to do something a bit different with the setting.

I’ve taken it back a few thousand years.

The first Dwarves to step out into the sunlight have just begun to build defenses around the entrances to their mountain fastnesses. There are Dwarf families who believe that Dwarf kind should not go out into the hurtful blinding light, and instead promote going deeper; these Dwarves shall someday become known as the Duergar.

Far and away the majority of the surface land is ruled by the Elves in their vast, ancient forests. The divide between the light skinned Elves and their ebon skinned cousins has not yet happened; Lolth does not yet have them entirely in her grasp. The tensions are high, but the Drow have not yet fled underground. Most Elves are of what the other races call “High Elves”, but the Wood and Wild Elves have extremely numerous populations amongst the forests.

Humankind is only now beginning to spread. The earliest Human settlers have just started to arrive in large ships from an unknown land far to the west. There are no Human cities yet, but there are many small towns along the western coast.

Gnomes are closer to their fey heritage; they are not yet “civilized”, and live furtive, cautious lives deep in the roots of the Elves forests.

Halflings are actually even more numerous than in the traditional D&D setting (I’m referring basically to The Forgotten Realms, what I consider to be the “default” D&D setting). In the southeast of this land, the “Hin” as they call themselves thrive with townships, shires, and villages across many leagues of hilly grassland and farmland.

The Dragonborn are very few and far between, and live almost exclusively in the far north, regardless of their ancestry. Though generally peaceful and proud, the Dragon-blooded folk face too much racial tension with the rest of the world, and so stay mostly to themselves.

Tieflings apparently do not have any type of society of their own. You might see one or two Tieflings while travelling through Human lands, or while visiting Halfling villages, but if you ever see three of them together, get away from the area… it’s said that three Tieflings mean trouble.

These races were not the first to inhabit this land. Scattered amongst the forests and on the mountainsides are ruins of an ancient civilization. Huge stone and timber structures, now broken and slowly disintegrating back into the dust, leave signs that some type of Giant race once lived all across the land. No one knows where they went, or how long ago. There are no clues as to why they no longer live here. Only the most ancient Elves, some of whom were actually alive when the Giants ruled the world, know what happened to them, but none of those Elves have been willing to speak of it.

One thought on “A Millenia Before Waterdeep

  1. I really like the concept! I recommend doing a significant amount of research into the history of Toril, pre and post Spellplague. Liberties can be taken! Netheril was an incredible empire before the Spellplague (and thus before the Dragonborn were shunted from Abir onto Toril) and their ruins are all over the Sword Coast, so with the world described here, Netheril would either not have existed or be somewhere else.
    In regards to having a widely elven population, elves LOVE making magic items, most of the magic items an adventurer in modern forgotten realms will have been made by elves, the cloak and bracers of elvenkind, for instance, are very common (as far as magic items go) in the Sword Coast, and many of their magic items at that point had been lost or destroyed. I suggest filling an elven society with common magic items that are more simple household utilities or items not particularly useful to an adventurer, cubes that emit light in a color of the user’s choice, or self-shuffling decks of cards (that can’t be used for gambling in fear of cheaters who enchanted the deck to shuffle in their favor), and make more useful magic items less common.
    I hope my ideas can be useful! It’s an exciting setting!

    Like

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