The following blog post is Part 1 of the Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition campaign, Dreadstorms Lost. These blogs are intended for other game masters who might want to use this campaign setting and the scenarios to inspire their own role playing games. (Free for noncommercial reuse.)
Notes: World Building
I created the Dreadstorm Lost Dungeons and Dragons campaign and the wider world of Briarstone to run some friends through a D&D 5th Edition game. Why? Because I’m crazy? Probably. World building is exhausting, thrilling, frustrating, and ever-changing in a role-playing game (RPG) thanks to the decisions, interactions, and observations of players in the game. In a pre-generated story like the Curse of Strahd, I don’t feel like I have the sort of flexibility and creativity that I can in my own world. That and I like coloring within my own lines, thank you very much.
To start, here is the map of the continent: Briarstone-Continent Map-Hz [PDF] (Free for noncommercial reuse.) This is an every changing map as I add more details, towns, and roads. And thus begins the campaign setting information dump!
Dreadstorm Lost Campaign: Continent
The continent is divided into three countries, Briarstone, Heshtia, and Glort. The enormous, raging Roone River divides the southern half of the content and is the much-contested border between the nations of Briarstone and Heshtia. The country of Glort controls the northern half of the continent. Briarstone is by the far the largest and richest of the three nations.
The Obsidian Ocean has violent storms, aggressive sea creatures, and sudden whirlpools. Only the bravest or foolhardy venture into these perilous waters.
THE NATION OF BRIARSTONE
The nation of Briarstone has the largest influence of magic users in positions of power. Humans make up the largest percentage of the Briarstonian population, but the other races are well represented.
The capitol city of Briarstone is Greater Breen on the Southern Coast where the nation’s Sovereign resides. The Sovereign is a shadowy figure that is both feared and respected, though very little is know about them.
The Sovereign selects Champions of Briarstone as reward for heroics to crown and country. The Champions are awarded a town to protect and in return receive a comfortable stipend. The position of Champion is considered retirement for exceptional adventurers lucky enough to survive that long.
Briarstone gets its name from the briarstone rock that can only be found along the cliffs of Northeastern Coast.
Briarstone – The Rock
Briarstone is an opaque black rock formation with small, jagged protrusions resembling thorns. When the brittle rock shatters, it creates more jagged protrusions.
The Shredding Cliffs of Briarstone along the northern coastline are made up almost entirely of Briarstone, making them impossible to climb. The cliffs run hundreds of miles along the coastline and in places are several miles deep as well as high.
The Forlorn Bay is littered with small islands of Briarstone, making passage from the Obsidian Sea into the harbor of Berlstrum a perilous task. The Forlorn Bay is rumored to be haunted from the numerous ship wrecks caused by the thorny stones. Without a Harbor Guide, navigating the briarstone hazards is suicide.
The Free Road is a major trade route running the North-South length of Briarstone. The Sovereign’s military regularly patrols the length of the Free Road. The patrol gathers taxes, shares general news, pays town protectors, and reports any town requests back to the Sovereign. If additional assistance is needed from the capitol, additional taxes are levied on the towns.
The lands south of the Marmont mountain ranges are considered the “civilized” areas of Briarstone. In the North, most townsfolk stay within the protection of the town walls.
The Roone River marks Briarstone’s western boundary On the Heshtia. Heshtia covets Briarstone’s mineral rich mountains, bountiful farmlands, and tropical beaches. Constant tension in the form of skirmishes and raids occur, but the countries are offi cially at peace. Skalia, Kantodo, and Zanzobar, Briarstone towns on the riverbanks of Roone River, all have a regular military presence because of tensions with Heshtia.
THE NATION OF HESHTIA
Heshtia has predominately an elfish and human population. Humans and half-elves are considered lower class citizens in Heshtia. Human slaves are a status symbol for the wealthy.
The east half of Heshtia is rolling green mountains, the west mostly arid desert lands. The capitol city, Alamorey, is nestled within the central hills.
The majority of Heshtian population live along the Roone River and along the Southern Coast. Tensions have been brewing over Roone River water rights.
THE NATION OF GLORT
To the north is the country of Glort, a mixed population of orc, dragonborn, dwarf, and gnome. Each race has areas of geographic majority. Glorters are a rugged, no-nonsense type people.
The capitol city of Glort is Taje Tgem on the northern edge of Lake Iver.
Glort is a cold land made up of a many frigid lakes, jagged, snowy mountains, and rocky hills. Herd animals and fish are the primary sources of food for the nation. Grains and produce are luxuries shipped in from Briarstone.
The Terrunium metals mined from Glorter mountains hold special properties. Once processed, items made with Terrunium are lighter weight, stronger, and bond more easily with magic [ie: versatile, more durable, advantage to stealth, can hold more than one enchantment]. Only Glorter Blademasters know the secret to molding and enchanting Terrunium into the world-famous Terrunium armors and weapons.
Nomadic tribes roam northwest of the Roone River between the desert lands of Northern Heshtia and the barren planes of Southern Glort. They claim loyalty to no nation and ignore political boundaries and petty disputes between countries. These nomadic tribes are often mistaken as the vicious Torken Raiders by outsiders.
Next up: Where it all starts, the Town of Berlstrum