After having been in dark fantasy land for a long while now, recent 5E D&D online playing in Forgotten Realms have made me think about a more traditional high (well, not THAT high) fantasy world to use as a base for adventures.
While there is a bunch of nice worlds to use, they often contain a lot of stuff I think is lame. Also, worlds like Forgotten Realms, Glorantha, Greyhawk and Mystara have existed for so long and have so much official lore written about them that most of the time I just feel dis-empowered and kinda loose interest when I read the books.
My way of handling this is to cannibalize stuff from all over the place and put it into my own loosely defined “Frankenstein world”. I did this with my long standing AD&D game long ago when I mixed up The Known World (predecessor to Mystara), Glorantha, Hârn, Shadow World with my own stuff.
So my next project is a large standard fantasy world to house stuff from all the cool settings out there. The picture is a first sketch of my “Terra Innominata” world with mini-settings from OpenQuest and RuneQuest plopped in. Got the idea for the map outlines this summer when I lay on the beach and some particularly interesting cloud formations came into my view.
At this point I have four different fantasy worlds going on:
1. Nexus Mundi (OSR dark fantasy, much inspired by the excellent works Tales of the Grotesque and Dungeonesque)
2. Innominata Maligna (d100 dark fantasy, basically Ravenloft minus the in my book lame things).*
3. Terra Innominata (d100 standard fantasy, collecting a bunch of cool d100 settings into a coherent whole).
4. Mittelwelt [work name] (OSR high fantasy, mixing up the things I like about Forgotten Realms, Greyhawk, Mystara, NOD and others).
I have also been thinking of using the same world for both d20/OSR and d100 gaming. It would certainly make things easier, but also is laden with some problems as some basic assumptions (like how gods and magic works) are quite different.
But building better worlds is fun. Weyland-Yutani was right.
* = apparently I’m not alone in the Ravenloft critique field, as Jack Shear in running a series of interesting blog posts on the issue.