5e campaign 1: General Setting Notes and Options

BRADFORD UNIVERSITY GAMING SOCIETY MEMBERS AVERT YOUR EYES AND NAVIGATE AWAY, THIS IS MATERIAL THAT COULD TURN INTO A CAMPAIGN I RUN AT BUGS.

For a while now i’ve been developing a 5e setting based on the AD&D setting Spelljammer, blocking out major factions, magitechnologies and generally how the universe works.

  • The main faction in the cosmos was the Elven Dominion, but a few centuries ago the empress died without a clear heir and even with the presence of her aging steward preventing an all out succession war between the various noble houses that form the main aristocratic backbone of the ED they exist in a weakened state. ED technology is mainly based around magically grown plants and telepathic links nurtured over the course of years. The Great Enemy of the Elven Dominion is the Illithid Collective. Bloodlines are very important in the ED as most of their technology is based on telepathic links that are hard to map to new telepathic presences, but telepathic presence is hereditary. Essentially if you’re a noble you hold a high position in society and you get to control spaceships grown for your family, and if you’re a commoner or a non-elf then everything sucks for you, and also you’re shunned like kind of a reverse of the X-Men.
    • This uniform takes inspiration from the Victorian Royal Navy. Many things are magic based.

      This uniform takes inspiration from the Victorian Royal Navy. Many things are magic based.

  • The Imperium of Independent Worlds (I-IW) are a long-standing Military Rebellion to the Elven Dominion who have managed to gain significant ground in recent centuries due to the ED’s disarray. Initially birthed by disgruntled Second Class Citizens within the ED the I-IW have formed a Military State where members of the armed forces reign over regular citizens and techs. I-IW technology contains some offsprouts from the ED but differs in it’s reliance on magically altered and magitekly augmented animal bioships and intertia bubble based drive systems allowing their craft greater manoeuvrability. I-IW worlds tend to range from tightly restricted to loosely governed depending on importance. their seat of power is aboard a massive city ship in deep space. As the “independant worlds” bit suggests the I-IW started out as a coalition to liberate worlds from the ED but devolved into trying to deny worlds to the ED after decades of total war.
    • I-IW Pilot and Rank band lists. Arm band ranks give a rushed thrown together asthetic like la resistance became a major power and didn't update.

      I-IW Pilot and Rank band lists. Arm band ranks give a rushed thrown together asthetic like la resistance became a major power and didn’t update.

  • Essentially the two biggest factions are both kinda evil-ish.
  • The Dwarven Crusade Fleets are significant powers in the cosmos, each a group of city ships in convoy dedicated to a god and usually powerful enough to stave off or devastate any system defence fleet, but they lack unity and have little strategic value. Some fleets are hostile and some benign depending on their patron deity. Dwarven technology is based on 60s-earth chemical rocketry and hollowed out asteroids.
    • Modular Design, some buildings are their own spess ship and will fly off the ship and land, or mine, or be a dorf church.

      Modular Design, some buildings are their own spess ship and will fly off the ship and land, or mine, or be a dorf church.

  • Illithid Collective: a nebulous threat that went dark a millennium ago, but still lingers.
    • I don’t have an image related to this. Illthids are essentially D&D’s squid peoples.
  • True Independent Groups: Mafias, Kingdoms, neutral planets and systems.
    • Same here. not the squid people, but the not having a thing.
  • Karis: A backwater world that succeeded from the ED 3000 years ago after a financial dispute from the local house Karis lives sheltered from the events going on around it.
    • I used the DonJon terrain generator to make this, but i can't remember the seed so i'm not sure if i can recreate it.

      I used the DonJon fantasy world generator to make the original karis map, Seed 50, Water 60%, i originally used 10% ice but i think i’ll upgrade that to 20%.  this is just a sketch.

There are several ideas for campaigns in the setting i’ve got:

  • Arrakis Campaign: Chronicling the origins of the Arrakis legion. A penal regiment from the Elven Dominion tasked with assaulting a desert Illithid cult world. Ostensibly with backup arriving. This one would start out a lot like the normany scene from Saving Private Ryan.
    • Colonel Arrakis and the desert world.

      Colonel Arrakis and the desert world.

    • This one seems like an organizational nightmare, prehaps helped by the fact i can take a lot of inspiration from Only War.
    • I really want to make this one an unforgiving game. not to be gratuitously cruel but rather to see if i can have people do amazing things under pressure. Combat as War.
    • I’m pretty sure it’d need a lot of automation: Random Redshirt Name/Personality Generator, Quick Character Sheet Generator (especially if they drop like flies). Also i’ll need to come up with a lot of homebrew classes and weapons.
    • Being very early in my planned timeline for the setting means that there’s less backstory and unique fluff to get across
  • The Star Moves: Blais is a developing country analogous to colonial usa but independent. Then all the big factions sent teams to secure the heir to the Elven Dominion who is rumoured to be in the Underdark of Karis, meanwhile a cult descending from the organization that split Karis from the rest of the cosmos continues to try that in desperation.
    • Map Generated with Inkarnate. It's a pretty good tool.

      Map Generated with Inkarnate. It’s a pretty good tool.

    • I never feel like i’m good at doing satisfying mysteries, so cults and space-faction intrigue seems kind of beyond me for the moment.
    • If i start it off advertising spess they’ll be disappointed, if i start it of not advertising spess they may be annoyed when all these xenos start popping up with their rayguns.
    • I’ll have to work out how to Underdark at some point.
    • This will start off as just a regular D&D Campaign, abait with more Intrigue. less hassle at the start.
  • Sibrius Rises: Sibrius is an early industrial Tsarist country on the same world as Blais populated by Gnomes and Giff, Hippomen which are one of the spelljammer things what amused me only i’ve added russian beards. They want to go to Aegir, Karis’ oceanic archipelago moon and set up a spess colony. The PC’s get hired by the head of the KGB to act as experts on the mission and assure it’s success as well as the safety of the prince overseeing it.
    • Ticket for the Trans-Sibrius Express, which is where the party meet.

      Ticket for the Trans-Sibrius Express, which is where the party meet.

    • Industrial? good thing i’m moving them away from society so they don’t have to deal with money.
    • This has a good mix of Spess adventures and simple frontier stuff. I can take inspiration from Subnautica and Stargate Atlantis while at the same time presenting basic D&D monsters refluffed to look Spess and Watery.
    • Good opportunity to introduce Spess stuff if i have more Spess characters visit the moon.
    • I have a lot of drawings prepared for this, more than the others probably.
    • giff
    • Giff Statblock woes.
  • Bombastic Space Adventures: This is a very Spelljammer campaign. An impulsive daughter of the great and missing in action spess pirate Diego Bombastic, Zoe Bombastic invites the PCs to become her crew on a quest to be the very best, like no one ever was.
    • Simple and allows for episodic format.
    • Really could do anything
    • Actually since it could be anything i’m having trouble thinking of things for it to be.
    • Also it’s the 60s, because why not.
    • [Image Unavailable (for now)]

As you can probably guess by looking at what wordpress Category and tags i have this under i’ve chosen to do Sibrius Rising.

EDIT: I’ve just noticed a huge flaw in Sibrius Rising as i have it planned: there is a huge period at the start full of vital plot but involves very little player involvement, also there are many devices i’m planning that aren’t covered by 5e’s mechanics. As such fizzedy-uck it i’m doing Arrakis Campaign.


All Hyperlinks point to stuff owned from other people. This article in no way reflects the views of the mathematician Nikolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky.

Dungeons and Dragons and the Spelljammer setting are the intellectual property of Wizards of the Coast, Please support the official release.

Inkarnate is here: http://inkarnate.com/. i do not know the exact legal status of works created with inkarnate.

All other illustrations in this article are licensed Creative Commons BY-NC-SA Vers 4.0 or whatever devientart uses to me, Matthew Crane.

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