In true Old-School fashion we are going to put together a fun game world by borrowing ideas from all over and layering them on top of the existing World of Greyhawk campaign setting.
Think Saberhagen, Howard, Lovecraft.
A little of Robert Jordan and George RR Martin.
I'm inspired by lots of artwork, too. Frazetta and Vallejo.
Warhammer Fantasy and the Old World. Blanchitsu!
Check out the CAMPAIGN BACKGROUND links in the sidebar for starting campaign details.
Get out your old AD&D rulebooks
In addition, we will be digging into some other OSR systems, like Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea, Eldritch Tales and more.
The campaign will begin in the Kingdom of Keoland in CY 571. You have just attended the Tocsin of Kelanen, the biggest annual fair in the County of Cryllor, and met some of the most interesting people...
Getting a Feel for the SettingWayne Rossi has written a brilliant analysis of the Original D&D setting, describing how it is truly howling wilderness and post-apocalyptic in it's sensibility.
From the Introduction:
On OD&D's Setting
The map from Avalon Hill's Outdoor Survival was the stated setting of original Dungeons & Dragons, and it's gotten a lot of love as a simple world for hexcrawling. If the hexes are 5 miles across, then it's about 175 miles by 180 miles - or 31,500 square miles, a heavily forested inland area that's around the size of South Carolina or the Czech Republic.
Here is the description of this world:
The so-called Wilderness really consists of unexplored land, cities and castles, not to mention the area immediately surrounding the castle (ruined or otherwise) which housed the dungeons.
If you actually read the wilderness description in OD&D volume 3: The Underworld & Wilderness Adventures, it turns out that the implied details of the setting are weird. Fighters in castles demand to be jousted, magic-users cast Geas and send them out after treasure, clerics demand a tithe or send the characters on a Quest.
But the real weirdness, and this was apparently confirmed in Gary Gygax's campaigns, is what is there when you start wandering about the wilderness. Mountains are haunted by cavemen and necromancers; deserts are home of nomads and dervishes. The "Optional" animal listings
turns swampland into the Mesozoic Era - rather than alligators and snakes it is full of tyrannosaurs and triceratops. Arid plains are Barsoomian, with banths, thoats, calots and the lot, while mountains are outright paleolithic, peopled by mammoths, titanotheres, mastodons, and sabre-tooth cats.
Gygax confirms this:
When I was using the pre-World of Greyhawk map for my world setting, the West Coast of North America was the Pleistocene region inhabited by savage cavemen and their contemporary fauna.
This makes the Outdoor Survival map a truly wild place. That huge desert towards the center? That's running with weird creatures of Mars - and maybe Tharks, Red Martians and so on. The mountains surrounding them are the home of cavemen who hunt sabre-toothed cats. The marsh castle is overflown by pterodactyls - does its lord ride around on a triceratops?
the Grimdark World of Greyhawk is a wild place, with more monsters than you might expect, and a lot fewer people. Or Peoples.
I recommend that you read the whole thing here. The OD&D Setting PDF
This should give a an idea of the tone of the setting that we are looking for. It's not the Renaissance with magic, there are no Steampunk Gnomes. There are no Elves at all. And because of the Cataclysm, there are spots where this dimension "wears thin" and the Fae Realm bleeds through. There are other places, cursed places, where the terrible weapons of the Ancients tore holes in Oerth, Space and Time.