The Dead Isles of Altarin

My first “campaign” was over. The Savage Front campaign, in my eyes, had been a failure caused by me, the Dungeon Master. Under ten sessions long, one total party kill, and a few failed plots was enough for me to end the story and start a new campaign. Did I quit? Yes. Looking back, I could have handled it much better and saved the Savage Front without beginning something new. Alas, that’s not what happened; instead, me and my friends began a new campaign called the Dead Isles of Altarin. This time, I decided against doing mountains of preparation beforehand and instead started with a simple idea: an archipelago ruled over by a trio of three liches called the Dread Admirals. Under them, common folk lived and thrived but a revolution was slowly brewing against the undead. As the party entered the world, they’d have to take a side and decide the fate of the Dead Isles of Altarin. This campaign, I was going to prepare little, improvise a lot, and go with the flow of the story. Well, how…

Connecting Worlds: Charr

On the continent of Tyria, very few cultures match the ferocity and tenacity of the charr, a race of large, feline creatures whose livelihood is driven by conflict. For hundreds of years, they’ve dominated the continent, waging war against humans, Branded beasts, and even each other. The latter, many think, will cause their eventual collapse. The Iron Legion seeks alliances with other races and organizations: humans and sylvari, the Pact and Vigil. The Ash Legion skirts from shadow to shadow, watching and waiting, their loyalties and goals shrouded in mystery. The Flame Legion is fully split; some seek retribution and reunification with the other legions and others refuse to accept that their time at the top is truly over. And the Blood Legion prepares itself for battle, for with all threats dealt with for the time being, a bloody war is surely on the horizon.

The past month has been rough. My final school semester is well underway and I’m still working, so my mind is usually drained of creative (or any) energy by the time I return home. The school-work-workout grind is tough. This means less article ideas, less worldbuilding, and less articles; however, it leads me to activities I can perform with minimal creative output on my part: video games. Nowadays, I mostly play Guild Wars 2, a massive multiplayer online roleplaying game set in the fantasy world of Tyria — where the charr roam.

Despite not being active creatively, my campaigns have continued. Thanks to Guild Wars 2, I’ve added a completely new race to my world: the charr. While playing, it dawned upon me that video games may give as much inspiration or more (depending on the person) as books. In my case, I decided to add a completely new race to my world. I’m not ripping them from the face of Tyria, legion structure and all; instead, I’m giving them a unique position while keeping some of their defining traits.

Their aesthetic, stout and intellectually savage outlook on the world, and passion for war are all aspects I’m good with. Their prominence, power in the world, and legion structure are all traits being tossed away. Where would be a good place for these ferocious felines? The mortal world? Nah. The Nine Hells of Baator? Yeah, it’s perfect. Perhaps they’re a dominant force there, just not the Material Plane? Nope. They’re dying out, they were once powerful — perhaps children of a Demon Prince turned Archdevil — but are now almost wiped out. They roam the first layer, Avernus, fighting for either side in the eternal Blood War and rarely make it out of the Nine Hells. Creatures of the mortal world are dumb to the race, well, normal creatures. Esteemed scholars and astute students of the Nine Hells and Infinite Abyss might know what a charr is, but the general populace blanks on the concept.

It’s done. The charr are in my world — now you try the same. While playing your favorite video game, think about what parts of its world might work well in yours. Should the shouts of Skyrim make an appearance in your next session? Maybe one of World of Warcraft’s raids would make a great boss fight! Does Minecraft’s random terrain generation give you inspiration for layouts of your next region? 

Keep D&D in the back of your mind while playing other games — you’ll be surprised how many ideas form.

Until next time, farewell!

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