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Great D&D Settings That Aren’t Published By Wizards Of The Coast

A list of vividly drawn campaign settings for Dungeons & Dragons made by third-party developers using the 5th Edition System Reference Document.

The fifth edition of Dungeons & Dragonshas many official campaign settings filled with vivid world-building details, character dossiers, and special rules Dungeon Masters can use to challenge their players in new ways, and yet some of the most interesting worlds for Dungeons & Dragons 5e have been made by developers outside the aegis of Wizards of the Coast. Several third-party game studios such as Darrington Press and Onyx Path have designed campaign setting sourcebooks compatible with the 5e ruleset, immersing players in worlds inspired by Greek Mythology, Afrofantasy fiction, the homebrew settings of tabletop livestreams, and more.

Wizards of the Coast, who inherited the Dungeons & Dragons franchise from the now defunct Tactical Studies Rules, currently publishes several official fantasy campaign settings for D&D, each themed around a certain type of fantasy storytelling. The Forgotten Realms setting, for instance, is centered around classical stories of heroic fantasy, while Ravenloft is steeped in tropes of Gothic Horror and the Eberron setting is a "Dungeonpunk" world of pulp adventure and technology powered by magic.

Related: Tabletop RPGs in the “Dungeonpunk” Genre

To encourage other game studios to create content for Dungeons & Dragons, Wizards of the Coast has published a System Reference Document for the 5th edition rules third-party developers can use to create their own D&D content under the Open Gaming License. A number of independent game designers have used this SRD to create 5e compatible campaign settings that expand on the sorts of stories players of Dungeons & Dragons can create; worlds inspired by different cultural mythologies, new race/class options, and new NPCs players can interact with.

Scarred Lands Is A D&D Campaign Setting Riddled By The Effects Of War

The D&D campaign setting called Scarred Lands, designed by Onyx Path Publishing, takes place in the world of Scarn, a wounded land recovering from a cataclysmic divine war between gods and primordial Titans, a place where civilizations rebuild, Titanspawn seek out new purposes beyond the war they were created to fight, and wandering heroes try to right the wrongs of the world with blade, magic, guile, and charm. The antiquity-flavored setting of Scarred Lands offers players new race options (the serpentine Asaatthi, the ghostly Hollow Legionaries, etc.) as well as new subclasses appropriate for adventuring in the world of Scarn.

Odyssey Of The Dragonlords Combines D&D With Greek/Romany Mythology

Like Scarred Lands, Odyssey of the Dragonlords, made by the lead designer of Baldur's Gate 1 & 2 and funded last year on Kickstarter, take places in a fantasy continent heavily inspired by Greek and Roman mythology and threatened by primordial Titans. Besides introducing new cultures and character backgrounds inspired by the civilizations of ancient Greece, along with new PC race options modeled after mythical Centaurs and Satyrs, Odyssey of the Dragonlords also makes oaths - and the challenges of keeping them - a central part of the game's setting. The deities of Thylea smile on heroes who keep their promises, and send Furies to harry and punish oath-breakers.

The Critical Role Tal'Dorei and Wildemount D&D Campaign Setting

Critical Role, one of the most famous and long-running tabletop livestreams of Dungeons & Dragons, takes places in the constructed world of Exandria. The Explorer's Guide To Wildemount, published by Wizards of the Coast in collaboration with voice actor and Dungeon Master Matthew Mercer, is a sourcebook describing the main setting and supporting characters of Critical Role Season 2, while the Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting sourcebook, soon to be republished by Darrington Press, describes the setting and iconic NPCs that appeared Critical Role Season 1. These sourcebooks together also offer players new characters classes such as the "Blood Hunter," along with rules for new subclasses and a school of space-time magic called "Dunamancy."

Related:D&D Character Backstories That Would Justify a Paladin/Sorcerer Build

The Wagadu Chronicles

The Wagadu Chronicles is an under-development MMORPG steeped in the visuals and tropes of Afrofantasy fiction. To promote the setting and player-generated narrative core to its MMO's premise, the developers of The Wagadu Chronicles have written up a 300-page lore book for their setting compatible with Dungeons & Dragons fifth edition, available for free on its website for anyone who subscribes to its newsletter. This lore book replaces the race options of D&D with lineages designed to express a character's culture and identity rather than race while also giving players new class options, artifacts, spells, and character backgrounds inspired by the stories and histories of precolonial Africa.

Next: Fantasy Tabletop RPGs Made By Non-European Creators

Source: Darrington Press, The Wagadu Chronicles, Kickstarter, Onyx Path Publishing


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About The Author
Coleman Gailloreto (347 Articles Published)

A Chicago-based Writer, Author and freelance translator. Looking to prep his readers for the next renaissance or apocalypse, whichever comes first. Write and publishes web fiction under the pseudonym Aldo Salt on Inkshares.com.

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A campaign setting is a world in which a Dungeons & Dragons campaign may take place. Many campaign settings were published officially by TSR and Wizards of the Coast, while countless other Dungeon Masters have created their own homebrew campaign worlds.


Before Dungeons & Dragons

The wargames which originally inspired Dungeons & Dragons allowed for multiple battles in a "campaign", originally a real-world term for a series of battles. This usage spread to Dave Arneson's Blackmoor campaign in the early 1970s, considered one of the earliest prototypes of roleplaying games, and from there to Gary Gygax's early playtests of Dungeons & Dragons.

Gygax's original Greyhawk world was drawn over a map of the United States, and not intended for publication.

World of Greyhawk (1980)

After the creation of Dungeons & Dragons in 1974, Gary Gygax was surprised by popular demand to publish his campaign world. In 2003, Gygax said:

"When I was asked by TSR to do my World of Greyhawk as a commercial product I was taken aback. I had assumed most DMs would far prefer to use their own world settings."

Gygax had not planned to release his world, but shortly developed it into a product:

"For certain the WoG product as published by TSR came into being about two or three months before the date of its printing and sale. Brian said that a campaign setting was needed, so after ascertaining the maximum size map sheet we could have printed, I free-handed the land outlines on those two sheets of paper, used colored pencils to put in terrain features, located the cities, and made up the names for everything. that took me about 1 week."

In 1980, TSR released the resulting product as the The World of Greyhawk Folio. This was the first official campaign setting released for Dungeons & Dragons, and for several years was the only official setting for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons.

Post-Gygax TSR (1985-1999)

Following Gygax's departure from TSR in 1985, TSR was eager to replace Greyhawk with other worlds.

TSR's decision to create a large number of campaign settings added variety to the game and created many memorable and innovative worlds, but had the drawback of dividing the playerbase among multiple campaign settings. This made it difficult to support campaign settings with supplements, since only a fraction of the playerbase would buy each release.

WotC era (2000-current)

Wizards of the Coast merged the D&D and AD&D product lines, doing away with the non-AD&D settings in the process. D&D 3rd edition made Gygax's World of Greyhawk the implied core setting.

During that edition, WotC debuted two all-new campaign settings: Ghostwalk, which was rushed out prior to D&D 3.5 and not supported thereafter, and Eberron, a steampunk-ish setting and winner of a large user-submitted campaign setting contest. This edition also saw a single sourcebook for World of Greyhawk, heavy support for the Forgotten Realms, Rokugan in Oriental Adventures, and third-party sourcebooks for Ravenloft and Dragonlance.

With the release of D&D 4th edition in 2008, WotC made that edition's default setting a concept known as Points of Light, with the Nentir Vale location a prime setting within. Sourcebooks were released for Eberron, Forgotten Realms, and Dark Sun.

D&D 5th edition (2014) was characterized by fewer product releases and a return to much of D&D's history. As a result, the core setting of that edition is considered to be the multiverse of all D&D settings, specifically citing the worlds of Birthright, Dragonlance, Eberron, Greyhawk and other settings.

List of official campaign settings

World of Greyhawk

Main article: World of Greyhawk

The World of Greyhawk campaign setting was the original world to be released for Dungeons & Dragons with the The World of Greyhawk Fantasy World Setting (1980). Created by Gary Gygax, it was later used as the default setting for Dungeons & Dragons third edition.

Forgotten Realms

Main article: Forgotten Realms

Originally created by Ed Greenwood, the Forgotten Realms is one of the longest-running and most popular Dungeons & Dragons campaign settings. Many novels use this world as their setting, and it has received strong support in D&D sourcebooks since the AD&D 1st edition era.


Main article: Mystara

Mystara was the campaign setting of the Dungeons & Dragons basic product line from 1991 to 1996.


Main article: Lankhmar

TSR released several products set in the world of Fritz Leiber's Lankhmar novels.


Main article: Ravenloft

A gothic horror campaign setting inspired by the Transylvanian vampire mythos.


Main article: Dragonlance

Dark Sun

Main article: Dark Sun


Main articles: Al-Qadim, Al-Qadim at the Forgotten Realms Wiki

A middle-eastern inspired campaign setting. It is considered to be geographically located on the planet of Toril, previously established as the world of the Forgotten Realms campaign setting.


Main article: Birthright


A campaign setting released for AD&D beginning with Spelljammer: AD&D Adventures in Space (1989). It allows players to sail through the cosmos in ships and even travel between different campaign settings which appear. It did not receive strong support after AD&D 2nd edition.


Main article: Planescape

A unique campaign setting released during the run of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition with the Planescape Campaign Setting (1994). It depicts the cosmology and culture of the previously released Great Wheel planar cosmology.

Council of Wyrms

An AD&D setting where the player characters can play as dragons.

Diablo II

Main articles: Diablo II: Diablerie (2000), Diablo II: To Hell and Back (2001)

In 2000 and 2001, Wizards of the Coast released two D&D sourcebooks set in the world of the video game Diablo II.


Main article: Rokugan

An east Asian themed fantasy world originating in AEG's collectable card game Legend of the Five Rings, Rokugan was the setting of Wizards of the Coast's Oriental Adventures (3e) (2001).


Main article: Ghostwalk

Ghostwalk (2003) was released as a single sourcebook for D&D 3rd edition, shortly before the D&D 3.5 release. It did not receive further support. Ghostwalk describes a city where planar confluences allow the ghosts of slain adventurers to manifest as solid, and even continue adventuring.


Main article: Eberron

Originally released with the Eberron Campaign Setting (2004), Keith Baker's setting Eberron was the winner of a Wizards of the Coast contest to select a new campaign setting for Dungeons & Dragons 3.5. Eberron aims to combine the feel of heroic pulp stories with film noir influences. Magic is widely used as a form of technology approximately on par with 19th century Earth: newspapers, railway and street lighting exist, all powered by magic.

Nentir Vale

Main articles: Nentir Vale, Points of Light

The Nentir Vale was a loosely-defined campaign setting which formed the default world for Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition. No official sourcebook was released for this world, which was intended to be left for individual DMs to fill in the details themselves.


Main article: Ravnica

A world based on the Ravnica series of cards for Wizards of the Coast's Magic: the Gathering collectible card game. It was first adapted into a D&D setting with the Guildmaster's Guide to Ravnica{{UnknownBook}}. This collaboration between Wizards of the Coast's Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: the Gathering departments was unprecedented, with internal company politics infamously precluding such a product throughout the previous twenty years when Wizards owned both brands.

Connections between campaign settings

Canonically, planar portals and other methods allow travel between many worlds of some campaign settings.

Planescape takes place within the planar cosmology previously established for generic D&D, and travel is canonically possible between Planescape and the World of Greyhawk.

Planar portals canonically exist which allow travel between the World of Greyhawk and Forgotten Realms settings.

The Spelljammer campaign setting described transit between worlds, including those of the Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance.

Al-Qadim takes place on the same planet as the Forgotten Realms.

Notable third-party campaign settings

Several D&D-compatible campaign settings have been released by companies other than TSR or Wizards of the Coast. Some notable settings include:

  • Tal'Dorei, campaign setting of the Critical Role online campaign.
  • Kalamar, a setting which licensed the official D&D logo from 2000-2006 and later formed the core setting of the HackMaster RPG
  • Ptolus, a massive campaign setting based around a single city, and written by Monte Cook, former co-author of the D&D 3rd edition core rulebooks
  • Aurania, one of the first third-party settings created by the Aero Hobbies D&D group credited with invention of the thief character class. Connected to the Manual of Aurania (1977) and the unpublished Libram of Aurania.
  • Warcraft, setting of Blizzard's World of Warcraft online roleplaying game, to which Wizards of the Coast at one point possessed the license.[1]


  1. Campaign Classics, Dragon #315 (Jan 2004), p.12-13.
Sours: https://dungeonsdragons.fandom.com/wiki/Campaign_setting
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D&D Settings 5e Players May Not Know

Though not officially updated for D&D 5e, these classic campaign settings brought unique features to the game, shaping it into what fans know today.

Dungeons & Dragons is host to a number of popular, intricate settings for players to explore during their adventures, each in essence a fully fleshed-out fantasy world. For campaigns, DMs can use any setting built for the current handbook, create their own, or adapt older ones to fit current D&D rules. The most obvious locations for the 5e handbook are the default Forgotten Realms, as well as Eberron, Ravenloft and Exandria. However, there are many Dungeons & Dragons settings newer players may have never heard of before.

The first published Dungeons & Dragons campaign, Palace of the Vampire Queen, was released in 1976 and is set in the Misty Isles. Not much is known about this location, though, as it wasn't used beyond the Palace of the Vampire Queen, The Dwarven Glory and The Misty Isles campaigns. Some better-known classic settings, like Dragonlance, have received or will receive 5e remakes. Others, such as Greyhawk, are heavily referenced throughout the 5e handbook and are starting to make appearances in the multiverse. The 2019 module Ghosts of Saltmarsh is the first official Greyhawk adventure published for 5e.

Related:  Dungeons & Dragons' Most Overpowered Classes & Subclasses Explained

Still, many of the original Dungeons & Dragons settings remain a mystery to those who exclusively play 5e. These make up an important part of D&D's history and could provide insight or inspiration for 5e players and DMs.

D&D Settings New Players Likely Haven't Heard Of


Mystara was once an important location, forming the Standard Dungeons & Dragons setting while Greyhawk was relegated to Advanced D&D. It was first used in the 1981 module Isle of Dread, though at that time it was only called The Known World. Much of Mystara's appeal came from its encouragement of player exploration; as the game's base setting, it allowed DMs and players a lot of freedom to customize their experience. Mystara was slowly phased out when the second edition came out and hasn't officially been used since the release of 3e.


Planescape is important to D&D's history because, as its name suggests, it brought the concept of a multi-planed universe to the game, ultimately paving the way for 5e's current multiverse. It was first published for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons and later served as the setting for critically acclaimed CRPG Planescape: Torment.


Spelljammer, a 2e setting, introduced science fiction to Dungeons & Dragons, then an exclusively fantasy experience. The setting takes players to outer space, even going so far as to incorporate real-world sciences as part of its design. Spelljammer is characterized by its technology, most notably its eponymous, magically-powered ships that allow travel between planets. Spelljammer ships can be found in 4e and 5e campaigns, albeit rarely, giving 5e players a glimpse into this setting's world.

Dark Sun

In conjunction with Spelljammer's science fiction is Dark Sun's apocalyptic fantasy, which is closer to a magical Mad Max than the Tolkien-esque world Dungeons & Dragons players knew up to that point. Many fans of the setting are hopeful Dungeons & Dragons will resurrect Dark Sun, partially fueled by a 2017 tweet from 5e co-creator Mike Mearl, as well as comments made about the setting's Mystic class at the 2018 Gary Con.

Next: Dungeons & Dragons' Best Multiclassing Combinations


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Brittany Spurlin (182 Articles Published)

Brittany Spurlin is Senior Writer for Screen Rant's Game Features. Previously, she was a news editor on VENN's editorial team. With a screenwriting degree from Boston University, she loves engaging narratives - especially the nerdy ones. More often than not, she can be found playing The Elder Scrolls, Wild Rift, The Legend of Zelda and Stardew Valley. Follow Brittany on Twitter @bsinitials

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How to Make a Campaign Setting Guide for D\u0026D

D&D 5E Games & Settings

A list of official D&D 5E settings, plus stand-alone games and campaign settings by third party publishers. Third-party games and settings are produced using the Open Gaming License, and use the D&D 5E ruleset to explore new genres and worlds.

The most common setting theme is Ancient Greek mythology, with several games or settings inspired by it: Theros, Arkadia, Hellenistika, Land of Myth, Odyssey of the Dragonlords,Ancient Adventures,and the Scarred Lands.

Official D&D Settings​

These campaign settings are produced by WotCfor D&D 5th Edition. Some have their own standalone books, while others are the setting for single storylines (adventures). Those with standalone setting books are marked with an asterisk.

Planeshift Settings​

These are Magic: the Gatheringsettings converted to D&D 5E and released as free online supplements by WotC. Planeshiftis the name of a D&D spell.

DominariaDefault MtG setting
InnistradGothic horror-themed, vampires, werewolves
IxalanMesoamerican-inspired; Sun Empire, dinosaurs
KaladeshClockwork, airships, artifice
ZendikarAdventure world of ancient ruins

Standalone Third Party Games​

These standalone games do not require the D&D core rulebooks, but are powered by the same ruleset. All the rules needed to play are found in the game itself.

DMs Guild Exclusive Settings​

These campaign settings cover material that is owned by WotC, but is still allowed for third-parties to publish under the terms of the DMsGuild.

AcheronUlraunt's Guide to the PlanesOuter Planes, war-torn battlefields
ShadowfelUlraunt's Guide to the PlanesOuter Planes, horror

Third Party Campaign Settings​

These campaign settings require the D&D core rulebooks. They are not standalone games.

Sours: https://www.enworld.org/wiki/dnd_settings/

Settings d&d

7 best Dungeons & Dragons settings for your next campaign

The universe of Dungeons & Dragons is filled with some very strange places indeed. Thanks to the diversity of settings and locales you can find in the official D&D world-building materials, it’s possible to hold a campaign in a quaint village populated by gnomes or a hellish prison designed to hold the most devious beings known to sentient kind - both using the exact same system. The range of possible locations players can visit during their adventures is part of what makes D&D such a popular roleplaying game.

The term ‘settings’ can be a little confusing when it comes to Dungeons & Dragons, as it can refer to entire planes of existence as well as singular continents. It’s not really about the size or geographical location of a setting that makes it stand apart from others, it’s more to do with what that locale can offer compared to its contemporaries. The Forgotten Realms is one plane of existence in the D&D universe, but within that plane are many, many different settings for players to explore - ranging from bustling cities filled with political intrigue to terrifying desolate wastelands stuffed to the brim with beasties.

Best Dungeons & Dragons settings

  • Sword Coast: A large stretch of coastline based in Faerûn, this setting is home to one of the most iconic locations in D&D history - the city of Waterdeep.
  • Avernus: The first layer of the Nine Hells of Baator, this fiery land is home to all sorts of devils and demons who can and will manipulate, betray and murder unsuspecting visitors.
  • Icewind Dale: This arctic tundra promises harsh conditions and deadly monsters for any traveller brave enough to enter its snowy depths.
  • Theros: Heavily inspired by ancient Greek history and culture, this Magic: The Gathering world is brought to life in a D&D setting.
  • Eberron: A steampunk-inspired setting based in the world of Khorvaire, players can expect to fly around in airships and encounter dinosaurs.
  • Saltmarsh: Along the coast of the Azure Sea lies a little fishing village whose idyllic way of life is being destroyed by smugglers and much worse.
  • Wildemount: A continent located in the world of Exandria - created by Critical Role DM Matthew Mercer - this setting is home to all sorts of intriguing cultures.

The D&D settings that most speak to you will really depend upon what you most enjoy about playing the fantasy roleplaying game. If dangerous encounters with deadly beasts is what you seek, one of the less hospitable locales on this list is more likely to be up your alley. Alternatively, you might be looking for an opportunity to meet friendlier folk, which likely means you’ll benefit from visiting somewhere populated by people and creatures who aren’t just going to try and stab you the moment you arrive. There’s a good mixture of both in this list, with some settings containing areas where conflict or peace could occur - entirely depending on what you do there. Decide on your next Dungeons & Dragons destination, using our guidebook to the best Dungeons & Dragons settings.

1. Sword Coast

This sizable stretch of coastline contains dozens of landmarks and places to explore

Sword Coast D&D RPG artwork

Technically, the Sword Coast is divided into two different sections - Sword Coast and Sword Coast North - but we’re wrapping them into one complete setting for the purposes of this first entry. Featured in the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide, as well as multiple campaign books including Waterdeep: Dragon Heist and Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage, this D&D setting is iconic for providing roleplaying experiences steeped in the kind of classic fantasy that Dungeons & Dragons is known for. Hills, forests, mountains, settlements and even an errant swamp feature among the Sword Coast’s many attractions.

The main draw of the Sword Coast are the key locations of Neverwinter Wood - the dwelling of elves and mischievous fey creatures - Baldur’s Gate and Waterdeep. There’s a ton of history to all of these places if you have the time to go snooping into them, which means that there’s a lot of culture to soak in. Baldur’s Gate is a port city that serves as a trading hub for the entire Sword Coast, but it also happens to harbour worshippers of Bane and Bhaal - two outworldly evil deities. The metropolis features prominently within the Dungeons & Dragons video game series Baldur’s Gate, which recently saw a third entry, and has connections to another setting on this list.

Waterdeep is another notable city located on the Sword Coast, one that’s more renowned for its influential inhabitants and potential for shady dealings. The city is home to both a notorious thieves’ guild - whose exploits have made them a number one target for the local law enforcement - and Undermountain, an enormous dungeon hidden beneath Waterdeep containing all manner of dangers too alluring for any adventurer to resist. If you want your next foray into Dungeons & Dragons to have all the hallmarks of a classic campaign, the Sword Coast is a great choice of setting.

Buy Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide on Amazon US and Amazon UK.

2. Avernus

One of D&D’s most unusual settings promises spicy adventures and characters who run hot

Avernus D&D RPG artwork

The afterlife is not a mystery in the world of Dungeons & Dragons. Mortals know where they could end up if they live their life in a less than moral way, as there is an intricate system of planes designed to hold all sorts of bad people. One of these planes is the Nine Hells of Baator, a fiery world where people who followed a lawful evil alignment usually find themselves when death finally claims them. Avernus is the topmost circle of Baator and is described as being a barren wasteland filled with snake pits, scattered magma pools and the occasional flying fireball.

The circle of Avernus is also home to an army of devils whose entire purpose is to eternally battle the forces of demons intent on invading the Nine Hells. Devils and demons are directly opposed creatures - devils being lawful evil and demons following a chaotic evil path - which means that they rather dislike each other, to put it lightly. Any adventurers unfortunate enough to find themselves wandering the deserts of Avernus won’t just have to survive the burning rivers of lava and raining fireballs, but the battlegrounds of this never-ending Blood War too. Not to mention the mischievous imps, vicious Abishai and winged Spinagon that lurk around Avernus, waiting for unsuspecting victims.

So why would you ever want to come here? In the case of adventure Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus, player characters find themselves getting involved in the aforementioned devil/demon conflict thanks to archdevil Zariel and the threat presented by her newly-constructed infernal warmachines. Avernus is the kind of place designed for a party that’s looking to take on a real big bad; the kind of evil that can’t exist on the mortal planes simply because it’s too dangerous for living people. Which is why Avernus is the perfect D&D setting for players who want to get knee-deep in the hottest action possible - quite literally.

Buy Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus from Amazon US and Amazon UK.

3. Icewind Dale

The freezing snows of this setting aren’t the chilliest thing players will encounter.

Icewind Dale D&D artwork

Far to the north lies a frozen wasteland whose icy planes promise death and disaster to those foolish enough to enter its depths. Icewind Dale is a snowy tundra located on the continent of Faerûn - which is also home to the Sword Coast - that offers very little in the way of civilisation but a lot when it comes to hazardous environments and dangerous beasts. There might be a scattering of settlements spread across the dale, which are mostly populated by the odd fisherman or dwarf working the mines hidden within the mountains, but for the most part this setting is primarily home to isolation. Considering that the winters in Icewind Dale can get as cold as -40℉, it’s unsurprising that there aren’t a lot of folk inhabiting this area of the world.

Which isn’t to say that there’s a lack of adventure to be had in Icewind Dale; just don’t expect a warm welcome from its people or its weather. The history of Icewind Dale is dotted with all manner of terrible events - including the time a necromancer used the local barbarian tribes for horrifying experiments - as well as some more exciting ones, such as the heroic endeavors of Drizzt Do’Urden, one of the most recognisable characters in Dungeons & Dragons lore. Should a party ever want to do a bit of sightseeing, they might just need to be wary of the remorhazes - enormous killer centipedes - roaming bands of frost giants and even a white dragon or two.

Icewind Dale has featured in several D&D properties, including a video game series of the same name and an adventure released last year called Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden. This particular adventure provides players with three separate threats to cope with - including a tyrannical warlock, a hidden necropolis and a mournful deity - alongside all the usual dangers that the dale has to offer. Those players wanting to be challenged, frightened and frozen by their next Dungeons & Dragons setting need look no further than Icewind Dale.

Buy Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden on Amazon US and Amazon UK.

4. Theros

A setting that makes the jump from Magic: The Gathering to the world of D&D

Mogis temple Mythic Odysseys of Theros tabletop roleplaying game sourcebook

Believe it or not, Theros isn’t the first Dungeons & Dragons setting based on a Magic: The Gathering set - that particular honour goes to the steampunk-inspired Ravinca - but it’s certainly distinctive enough to catch the attention of any player or dungeon master. For those who might not be familiar with the collectible card game, Magic: The Gathering has a vast multiverse filled with all sorts of worlds and one of them is the land of Theros. Looking at Theros, it’s instantly obvious where its creators, James Wyatt and and F. Wesley Schneider, looked for inspiration. From fearsome hydra to meddling gods, Theros unashamedly is a love letter to ancient Greek myth and culture.

Apart from the character creation elements introduced in Theros, which enable players to create flawed heroes who were driven by their connection to a chosen god or fate, the most exciting aspect of the setting is easily its pantheon. Taken wholesale from Magic, Theros’ group of gods are fallible, bitter and more than willing to get mortals involved in divine matters. Unlike the deities of the wider Dungeons & Dragons universe, the gods of Theros are incredibly visible and present. Despite being associated with certain MTG mana colours and alignments these deities do not follow a set path of morals, and are instead driven by their own personal desires and feuds, which they will not hesitate to pull player characters into if they require their aid.

When not being a family counsellor to a pantheon of bickering deities, players can embark on epic adventures that are sure to have stories told about them for years to come. Theros is filled with opportunities for battling beasts, sailing vast seas and performing mighty feats - it really is just that extra. Players will also be able to interact with, and even create, minotaur and centaur characters, fully cementing Theros as being the setting of choice for lovers of ancient Grecian myths.

Buy Mythic Odysseys of Theros from Amazon US and Amazon UK.

5. Eberron

A setting inspired by noir films and steampunk is guaranteed to provide something unique


The creative history behind Eberron is a fascinating story that only adds to the setting’s unique identity. Designed by Keith Baker, the creator of the Gloom series of card games, Eberron was originally called The Thrilling Tales of Swords and Sorcery and found inspiration in steampunk and noir, taking cues from several beloved films such as Casablanca, Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Mummy (1999). Originally introduced in Dungeons & Dragons’ third edition, Eberron is a world made up of seven continents, with Khorvaire being the most populated and commonly visited one, and features a society torn apart by war but filled with boundless potential.

The people of Eberron may have many of the characteristics found in fantasy settings, such as an affinity for magic, but they’re far more technologically advanced. Players can expect to see ships flying through the sky, weapons augmented with machine enhancements and even an entire species of living artificial constructions called Warforged. Much of this technology was created and used in a conflict called The Last War, which has since concluded by the time player characters find themselves walking on Eberron’s soil.

Besides the machines, Eberron is remarkable for being a setting that’s positively stuffed full of weirdness. From Changelings and Shifters - playable species who are capable of altering their appearance at will - to psionic Kalashtar and actual dinosaurs, Eberron is a strange land that will almost certainly continue to surprise its players regardless of how many adventures they experience there. For something very different from the classic fantasy most often associated with Dungeons & Dragons, it’s hard to go wrong with a setting like Eberron.

Buy Eberron: Rising from the Last War from Amazon US and Amazon UK.

6. Saltmarsh

This sleepy fishing town is plagued by all sorts of terrors from the seas’ salty depths

Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game artwork 17

To the naked eye, Saltmarsh may appear to be nothing more than your average, run of the mill coastal village in Salinmoor - a Viscounty of the country of Keoland. Its people make their money from the fresh fish that they catch each day, making it a serious means of trade for Saltmarsh. This fish might have made its way to the city of Seaton - if it hadn’t already been plundered and sacked by a band of roaming slavers. Despite being a small town, Saltmarsh has seen its fair share of troubles thanks to the smugglers and ne'er-do-wells that plague its waters, and that’s not even mentioning a certain cult that’s been lurking around its streets.

Saltmarsh is heavily featured in an anthology of D&D adventures called Ghosts of Saltmarsh, with the village playing host to all sorts of marine-based horrors from the hungry sahuagin - fish monstrosities that hide beneath the waves waiting for ships to sail above - to undead sailors that rise from their graves. The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh has players encountering an evil alchemist who lives in a haunted house on the outskirts of the town, with the adventure eventually leading the party to a ghostly ship doomed to forever sail Saltmarsh’s waters. As a location, Saltmarsh is clearly inspired by Lovecraftian horror and history’s various smuggling towns.

Regardless of how quaint Saltmarsh might initially appear, it contains oodles of nasty secrets for players to unearth. There are definitely opportunities here for characters to explore the seas, if sailing is something they’re particularly keen on experiencing, as well as interact with some undoubtedly strange folk. Not necessarily the driest or safest setting Dungeons & Dragons has to offer, any wannabe seafaring characters shouldn’t miss out on the chance to release their sails in Saltmarsh.

Buy Ghosts of Saltmarsh on Amazon US and Amazon UK.

7. Wildemount

Explore an entire continent created by Critical Role’s own dungeon master

Explorer's Guide to Wildemount Dungeons & Dragons tabletop roleplaying game image 4

Wildemount is part of a world called Exandria which comes from the mind of Matthew Mercer, actor and dungeon master for the actual play YouTube series Critical Role, who was lead writer on the official Dungeons & Dragons sourcebook Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount. As a D&D setting Wildemount is filled with many different kinds of environments, from the sun-drenched city of Port Damali to the frozen north of Eiselcross, and is filled to the brim with all sorts of dangerous beings such as Aerion Abominations and giant sea turtles. What stands out most about Wildemount is not its lands or monsters, but its peoples, cultures and rich histories.

The campaign for season two of Critical Role has a heavy focus on deities and the conflict between the nations of the Dwendalian Empire and the Kryn Dynasty, both of which are heavily represented in Wildemount’s sourcebook. This continent has been shaped by the events of the calamity - a massiving outing of various traitor gods who had been scheming to do some pretty bad things - with its people deeming the worship of certain deities appropriate or forbidden. Wildemount is also in the midst of an epic war between two culturally opposing peoples, those of the Empire and the Dynasty, who are sure to play a central role in almost any one-shot or campaign that takes place in this setting.

Wildemount certainly has some incredible sights and encounters hidden in its more remote areas, such as ancient ruins containing the bodies of long dead behemoths or vast jungle islands holding sinister godlike beings. However, its most incredible aspects are the various societies, organisations and powers at play within both sides of its continent spanning conflict. For players itching for some political intrigue and cultural exploration, Wildemount provides more than enough opportunities to get stuck into some talkative situations.

Buy Explorer's Guide to Wildemount on Amazon US and Amazon UK.

Sours: https://www.dicebreaker.com/games/dungeons-and-dragons-5e/best-games/best-dnd-settings
The 5 Best DnD Settings You've Never Heard Of

Dungeons & Dragons campaign settings

The flexibility of the Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) game rules means that Dungeon Masters (DM) are free to create their own fantasy campaign settings. For those who wanted a pre-packaged setting in which to play, TSR, Wizards of the Coast (WotC), and other publishers have created many settings in which D&D games can be based; of these, the Forgotten Realms, an epic fantasy world, has been one of the most successful and critically acclaimed settings. Many campaign settings include standard sword and sorcery environments, while others borrow Asian, Central American, swashbuckling, horror and even space-travel themes.

These are official D&D campaign settings that have been published or licensed by TSR or WotC. Theros and Ravnica originated in the Magic: The Gathering franchise, another property of WotC. A number of the settings here are no longer published or officially licensed, though all have active fan bases.


Main article: Birthright (campaign setting)

A setting in which the players took on the powers of the divinely-empowered rulers of nations, with emphasis on tactical gameplay with a broad scope.


Main article: Blackmoor (campaign setting)

The original campaign setting played for D&D, created by Dave Arneson. Arneson created this setting for use in personal games with the Chainmail rules set in 1971,[1] prior to Greyhawk and indeed Dungeons & Dragons itself. The D&D Blackmoor supplement was published in 1975. In 2004, Blackmoor was again published by Arneson and Zeitgeist Games. It was also run as a Massively Multiplayer Role-Playing Game, or MMRPG, a type of living campaign.

Council of Wyrms[edit]

Main article: Council of Wyrms

Council of Wyrms is a D&D boxed set, published in 1994, that includes rules for playing dragon, half dragon, and dragon servant characters. It includes three rule books: one for the base rules, one for dragon family and clan histories, and one for adventure modules.[2] In 1999 it was slightly revised and reprinted as a hardcover book.[3]

Dark Sun[edit]

Main article: Dark Sun

Released by TSR in 1991, Dark Sun diverges from the tone of "conventional" medieval fantasy, drawing heavy inspiration from novels like Dune and the Barsoom series. The campaign is set on the harsh desert world of Athas - once a lush planet teeming with life, it has since been stripped of its fertility by uncontrolled use of defiling magic and is now a desolate and savage place where civilization has retreated to city-states controlled by god-like Sorcerer-Kings.

Psionics are a dominant aspect of the setting and are as commonplace as magic in other D&D settings - native / latent psionic abilities are commonly found in individuals of all humanoid races and their powers are respected. Religion and divine magic is based on the worship of elemental forces, spirits or the Sorcerer-Kings themselves - the old gods have long abandoned the world.

Wizards and arcane spellcasters, on the other hand, are rarer and usually discriminated against, mainly because most of them are "defilers" who drain life force from the environment to power their magic. However, a small underground minority of magicians called "preservers" work to maintain life and ultimately restore the primeval lushness.

Playable humanoid races in Athas include the Thri-Kreen (mantis people) and Half-Giants, as well as warped variants of races found in other conventional fantasy settings: humans, the dominant race in most of known Athas, appear to be tougher than in other worlds; elves are nomadic desert dwellers and long-distance runners; halflings are depicted as savage jungle cannibals.

These elements, combined with a post-apocalyptic desert setting and the alien feel of Athas' native cultures, give Dark Sun a unique flavor among the various D&D worlds.

Dragon Fist[edit]

Dragon Fist, released on the Wizards of the Coast website, was promoted as a new role playing game, describing itself in its introduction as an "AD&D variant". With its debut near the end of the lifespan of second edition, the variant rules blended rules found in different editions. For example, the game used the monster template of second edition, but the armor class rules of third edition. The campaign setting, created by Chris Pramas, is an Oriental realm known as Tianguo, "a fictional land based on wuxia films and on Chinese folklore and legend". Beyond the initial release, the product was not supported.[4]


Main article: Dragonlance

The first complete fictional world to be intentionally produced and marketed as an RPG supplement, with product tie-ins (novels, role-playing modules, figurines, etc.) prepared and manufactured when it was first released. The success of the Dragonlance series encouraged role-playing game producers to invent and market additional fictional game worlds. Dragonlance is an epic fantasy campaign focused on a war between good and evil gods and the return of dragons after centuries of absence. Created by Tracy Hickman and his wife Laura, with tie-in novels by Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weis.

Time of the Dragon[edit]

Main article: Time of the Dragon

This box set introduced gamers to the continent of Taladas, noted for having a large molten sea in its middle, and a nation of minotaurs modeled on the Roman Empire, with its own imperial family, senate, and gladiatorial games.


Main article: Eberron

In 2003, Wizards of the Coast held a contest for fans to propose the most creative new setting, the reward being a publishing contract. Keith Baker's setting won, and with additional design by Wizards of the Coast's creative department, the Eberron campaign setting was released in 2004. Straying from the "standard" Western European flavor used in many other D&D settings such as Greyhawk and the Forgotten Realms, Eberron takes place in a world of pulp action and fantasy noir with steampunk influences, where the inhabitants make extensive use of magic in place of technology, or technology powered by magical energies. Fantasy versions of steam trains, airships, and even robots are commonplace, mostly replacing the traditional medieval trope of knights in shining armor.


Main article: Critical Role

Originally created by Matthew Mercer for his personal campaigns in 2012,[5] Exandria is the world where the Critical Role web series is set. In 2017, Green Ronin Publishing released a setting book written by Mercer and James Haeck, Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, which focused on the continent of Tal'Dorei on Exandria, where the first Critical Role campaign with the adventuring group Vox Machina took place.[6]

Exandria was first mentioned in an official Wizards of the Coast publication in the adventure book Baldur's Gate: Descent Into Avernus (2019). In 2020, after Mercer had been working with Wizards of the Coast for about a year and a half on the project, Exandria officially became a part of Dungeons & Dragons through the release of the Explorer's Guide to Wildemount.[7][8] This book focuses on the continent of Wildemount in Exandria, where the second Critical Role campaign takes place, and adds a new type of magic called dunamancy, which focuses on manipulating time and space.[9] The second collaboration book, Critical Role: Call of the Netherdeep, is scheduled to be released in March 2022. The adventure will start in the Wastes of Xhorhas (on the continent of Wildemount) before players head to the city of Ank'Harel (on the continent of Marquet);[10][11] from there, players will be drawn into the Netherdeep, "a terrifying cross between the Far Realm and the deep ocean".[10] The adventure module will also include setting information.[12]

Forgotten Realms[edit]

Main article: Forgotten Realms

Created by author and game designer Ed Greenwood as his personal campaign and detailed in a long series of articles in Dragon Magazine, Forgotten Realms became the most popular D&D setting from the late 1980s onwards and has been well received by both gamers and reviewers - Sean Patrick Fannon, author of The Fantasy Roleplaying Gamer's Bible, has praised the setting's scope and ambition and considered that it "may be the most widely played-in game setting in RPG history."[13]

The Forgotten Realms is a high fantasy world - magic is powerful, legendary monsters are commonplace, and gods often intervene directly in mortal affairs. Players can indulge in several types of fantasy adventures - from straightforward hack-and-slash treasure hunting in dungeons to epic campaigns involving regional wars, cataclysms and direct contact with gods and extra-dimensional beings.

The lands of the Forgotten Realms are not all ruled by the human race: the setting's planet, Abeir-Toril, is shared by humans, dwarves, elves, goblins, orcs, Dragons and other peoples and creatures. Technologically, the world resembles pre-industrial Earth of the 13th or 14th century. However, the strong presence of magic provides an additional element of power to the societies.

The main focus of the campaign is the region of Faerûn, the western part of a continent that was roughly modeled after the Eurasian continent on Earth. Faerûn was first detailed in the original Forgotten Realms Campaign Set, published in 1987 by TSR,[14] and contains rough analogues of mythical versions of European, African and Middle Eastern cultures, as well as regions dominated by non-human races. Other areas include the Underdark (an underground realm dominated by evil elves), Maztica (inspired by Pre-Columbian Meso-America) and Kara-Tur (based on the mythical Far East).

For D&D's 4th edition, the setting was reworked: the timeline advanced into the future where a major cataclysm caused by a conflict amongst gods caused the previously divided worlds Abeir and Toril to collide with several geographical areas changing place. In 2014, with the launch of the 5th edition, the world of Forgotten Realms was again returned to its previous, 3rd edition geography.

This campaign is currently officially supported by Wizards of the Coast and over the years has expanded into a variety of other media, including literature, comics and video games. The highly successful Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale, and Neverwinter Nights series of video games are based on the Forgotten Realms, which is also the setting of a large number of novels, featuring, among others, the popular characters Drizzt Do'Urden, Artemis Entreri, and Elminster.

The Forgotten Realms are the default setting for most adventures released for 5th edition of D&D, though the core rulebooks reference the wider multiverse.[15]


Main article: Al-Qadim

A setting inspired by the Arabian Nights mythos, with genies, elemental wizards, holy assassins, and a land unified by belief in the power of Fate. The land, named Zakhara, is located near the southern border of the continent of Faerûn, the main landmass of the Realms. However, Al-Qadim appeared under its own label, and not the Forgotten Realms label, unlike Kara-Tur and Maztica. This campaign setting is no longer officially supported; however, it is now regarded as part of the Forgotten Realms campaign setting as its setting is mentioned in some Forgotten Realms sourcebooks and novels.

The Horde[edit]

Main article: The Horde (boxed set)

Released as a box set, The Horde's subheading on its front cover reads “Barbarian Campaign Setting”. It details a region known as the Endless Waste, which lies between Faerûn and Kara-Tur. The setting is modeled on medieval Mongolia (A Guidebook to the Endless Waste, page 9).


Main article: Kara-Tur

An oriental setting loosely based on mythical and medieval East and Southeast Asia, featuring advanced and mystical civilizations populated by martial warriors, samurais, ninjas, spirit folk and other fantastical creatures. It was introduced in the original Oriental Adventures rulebook published in the 1980s. It later became part of the Forgotten Realms and was eventually placed on the eastern edge of Toril. The lands of Kara-Tur are split between several peoples and kingdoms, the most powerful of which is Shou Lung, a sprawling empire (inspired by historical China) and arguably the largest nation on the Forgotten Realms.

Malatra: The Living Jungle[edit]

A lesser known setting located south of Shou Lung in Kara-Tur, Malatra is a massive plateau containing a dense jungle environment.[16][17] Loosely based on Pre-colonial Indochina, Malatra is cut off from the rest of the world by distance, geography and powerful magic. Different races and variants of races from Forgotten Realms, Kara-Tur,[16] and Spelljammer inhabit the plateau, and there is little in the form of technology.[17] True Gods, money, and books are all unheard of in the setting, as it is intended to have a more primitive feel and stress heroism. Malatra was created as a Living Setting for Polyhedron magazine,[18] and used in organized play at conventions.[17] Most of the information from the setting can be found in Polyhedron magazine starting with issue 102, with a number of adventures being released every year. The setting started during second edition in 1995 and continued to release more adventures regularly into third edition through 2003. In 2007 one final adventure using the 3.5 rules was created for the organized play circuit.


Main article: Maztica

A continent west of Faerûn (in the Forgotten Realms) that parallels Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica.

In the fourth edition of D&D, Maztica was no longer on Toril, but was shifted to Abeir. The fifth edition of the game reinstated the 3rd edition geography.


Main article: Ghostwalk

The Ghostwalk setting consists of a single campaign book. The central locale for the Ghostwalk setting is a city called Manifest, a mausoleum city built atop a geological feature known as the Well of Souls, a gathering place for ghosts, unique as a place in which ghosts can cross over to the realm of the living.


Main article: Greyhawk

The first published setting for D&D, created by D&D co-author Gary Gygax. Greyhawk is Gygax's original campaign, one which eventually turned into an official game supplement and was greatly expanded upon with many supplements throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Many of the setting's concepts were based on ideas generated during Gary Gygax's D&D gaming sessions. Several characters in the setting were also based on characters created by Gygax's gaming partners.

Oerth (the name of the world where Greyhawk campaigns take place) is a "standard" medieval fantasy world, similar in many ways to the Forgotten Realms campaign, but overall darker in tone, closer to a sword and sorcery scenario. The first official edition of the campaign was published in 1980, although sections of it had appeared in articles published by the author.

The campaign itself began as a dungeon and then expanded into an entire continent (Oerik) and eventually other added areas. In general, Oerth is an action-packed world which seems to be gradually descending into savagery and chaos and continually on the verge of war. It is originally centered on the region of Flanaess, whose fictional history has parallels with that of ancient and medieval Europe - a powerful Oeridian Empire has pushed away barbarian tribes and has become a decadent, evil state, while smaller states, kingdoms and tribes compete for power amidst wildlands populated by monsters, magic and fantastical creatures.

Greyhawk was also the "default" setting for the 3rd edition of D&D, with deities from the Setting being used as examples in the core rulebooks, and an organized play "living" campaign for the edition was set in Greyhawk. More recently, the 5th edition adventure book Ghosts of Saltmarsh is set in the Greyhawk setting.


Jakandor, released in 1998, is a self-contained "campaign arena" conceived by Jeff Grubb. Jakandor is an island divided between the native Charonti, a civilization that makes heavy use of magic (especially necromancy), and the Knorr, barbarians who despise the vile practice of magic and have been driven from a far-away homeland to Jakandor.

The setting was released in the form of three books, as part of the AD&D: Odyssey line. These books are:

  • Jakandor, Island of War (Feb. 1998 ISBN 0-7869-0371-6) detailed the Knorr barbarians and eastern side of Jakandor.
  • Jakandor, Isle of Destiny (June 1998 ISBN 0-7869-1245-6) detailed the Charonti and western side of Jakandor.
  • Jakandor, Land of Legend (November 1998 ISBN 0-7869-1246-4) has additional information and adventures for characters from both civilisations.

A fourth book Jakandor: Land of Destiny by Jeff Grubb was planned for January 1999 but never released.

Kingdoms of Kalamar[edit]

Main article: Kingdoms of Kalamar

A campaign setting designed and produced by Kenzer & Company. The Kalamar setting focuses mainly on six human sub-races on the world of Tellene and its creators pride themselves on grounding the fantasy setting in 'reality' by taking advantage of realistic looking geography and political structures. This campaign setting is no longer officially supported by Wizards of the Coast, but Kenzer & Company continues to use this setting for its own Hackmaster game.


Main article: Lankhmar

TSR released a setting based on the Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser stories by Fritz Leiber. The corrupt city of Lankhmar on the planet Nehwon is the starting place of grand adventures filled with mystery and deceit. Though Lankhmar is no longer supported as a setting for Dungeons & Dragons, its rights are held by Goodman Games, who have released it as a setting for Dungeon Crawl Classics.[19]

Magic: The Gathering planes[edit]

Main article: Multiverse (Magic: The Gathering)

The various planes from the Magic: The Gatheringcollectible card game were first adapted for Dungeons & Dragons in a series of free PDF releases called Plane Shift by James Wyatt, who worked on D&D for many years before moving over to Magic in 2014. Wyatt also writes the text for the series of Art of Magic: The Gathering coffee table books, which reprint illustrations from the cards with details for each plane's lore; the Plane Shift releases were created to allow players to use those books as campaign setting guides by providing the necessary rule adaptations.[20] Between 2016 and 2018, six "Plane Shift" articles were released: Amonkhet, Dominaria, Innistrad, Ixalan, Kaladesh, and Zendikar, along with an Ixalan-set adventure.[20][21][22]

However, these articles are not considered official material for organized play.[23] In 2017, Mike Mearls wrote: "It's basically a thing James does for fun, and we don't want to burden it with needing all the work required to make it official".[24]


Main article: Ravnica

The positive response to the "Plane Shift" articles lead to the 2018 publication of Guildmasters' Guide to Ravnica, a full hardcover setting guide to the Magic setting of Ravnica, which first appeared in 2005.[25][26][27] It is a high-magic world with a loose Slavic flavor, and features a single city which spans the entire planet and is controlled by ten competing guilds of different ideologies.[28][29][30] Wyatt was the lead designer on Guildmasters’ Guide to Ravnica (2018)[31] and he stated "this book is, essentially, Plane Shift: Ravnica".[32]


Main article: Theros

Theros is a setting inspired by Greek mythology and Roman mythology.[33][34][35][23] The setting originated as part of a Magic: The Gathering block released in 2013.[36] This plane was introduced to Dungeons & Dragons in the 5th Edition campaign setting book Mythic Odysseys of Theros (2020). Wyatt co-led the design with F. Wesley Schneider.[34]


The plane of Arcavios and its magical university Strixhaven were "created from scratch by the world-building team" for the 2021 Strixhaven: School of MagesMagic: The Gathering set.[37] The university is divided into five colleges: Lorehold, Witherbloom, Prismari, Quandrix, and Silverquill; each college was founded by a different Elder Dragon.[38][39] In June 2021, it was announced that the next crossover campaign book would be Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos (2021) which would introduce the setting to Dungeons & Dragons in November 2021.[40]CBR reported that "in the world of Magic: The Gathering, Strixhaven is the largest and most powerful magic academy in the multiverse [...]. Due to its relatively recent addition to the Magic: The Gathering universe, it's likely this Dungeons & Dragons adventure will significantly expand on the lore associated with the magic school. A preview of Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos will be available on June 8, alongside the launch of new playtest content titled Unearthed Arcana – Mages of Strixhaven".[41]

Future plans[edit]

In 2020, Greg Tito, Wizards of the Coast Senior Communications Manager, confirmed that there would be more Dungeons & Dragons crossovers with Magic: The Gathering in the future, noting "there is a huge crossover between Magic players and D&D players" and since Wyatt has worked on both D&D and Magic, it is even more likely that there will be more crossovers.[42]


Mahasarpa is a South Asian-themed campaign setting featuring seven kingdoms that are the surviving remnants of a great kingdom brought down by its own arrogance. Mahasarpa was designed by James Wyatt, and was offered as a free web enhancement to the Oriental Adventures rulebook for D&D 3rd edition. Mahasarpa includes brief descriptions of the seven kingdoms, character options for the setting, new magic items, and new monsters.


Main article: Mystara

A campaign setting that evolved from the B and X series modules. Unlike other settings, Mystara had ascended immortal beings instead of gods. This was the default campaign world for the non-Advanced editions of D&D throughout the 1980s and 1990s, and the Blackmoor setting was later retconned to exist in Mystara's distant past. Similarly to Forgotten Realms, it was also designed as a "generic" high fantasy setting with a lot of variety, although arguably lighter in tone and aimed at younger players.

Most adventures take place in "The Known World", a central continent that includes a varied patchwork of both human and non-human realms: analogues of Medieval Europe and Asian countries, Elvish and Dwarvish kingdoms, a pastoral halfling realm, a region inhabited by tribes reminiscent of Native-American peoples, a wasteland populated by orcs and other humanoid races, pirate islands, and two large empires (one inspired by real-world Rome and the other one ruled by powerful wizards). The setting includes further oddities, such as the Savage Coast campaign and a peculiar underworld sub-setting (the Hollow World).

During the 1990s, gamers' attention shifted towards the advanced edition of D&D and its official campaigns (such as Forgotten Realms, Dark Sun, Ravenloft and Planescape). A version of the setting was released for AD&D 2nd edition, but support was sparse. However, Mystara is one of the settings mentioned in the core rulebooks of the 5th edition of D&D, launched in 2014.

Hollow World[edit]

Main article: Hollow World Campaign Set

Hollow World is a sub-setting for Mystara located on the inner surface contained within the world of Mystara, similar to the real world legends of the Hollow Earth. It is lit by a small, eternal red sun at the center of Mystara. The existence of the Hollow World is not, in general, known to the inhabitants of the outer world. The north and south poles are actually huge, subtly curving holes that allow passage between the outer and inner world, although it is a long, hard trek through a cold, unlit, stormy and anti-magic area. Explorers from either surface do not notice the transition until after it is already made, causing quite a shock for most.

The Hollow World was originally discovered by Ka the Preserver, an ancient Immortal who began life as a giant carnosaur, who after finding it, decided to use the inner surface of the world as a refuge and preserve for creatures that were on the verge of becoming extinct in the ever-changing outer world. Characters from the surface world are severely limited by the magic used by the Immortals to preserve the stability of the various cultures. The requirements to learn magic are much higher in the Hollow World, and many spells are non-functional or unavailable. Several new player races are included: Beastmen, Brutemen, Kubbits, Krugel Orcs, and Malpheggi Lizardmen.

Savage Coast[edit]

Main article: Savage Coast

The Savage Coast is part of the Mystara campaign setting. The area is a 2,000 mile long frontier coastline about 2,000 miles to the west of the Known World area of Mystara. Inhabited by pirates and colonists, the Savage Coast is under the Red Curse, which eventually kills its inhabitants by mutating them unless the metal cinnabryl is worn in contact with the body. This sub-setting is influenced by the historical Age of Exploration.

Thunder Rift[edit]

Thunder Rift is a subsetting created by Colin McComb in 1992 for the "basic" D&D product line, which was refreshed with the 1991 publication of a new boxed set for new players and the Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia game book. The Rift, a small and isolated valley containing many common D&D races and monsters, is presented as a location for beginning game groups that could be gradually expanded by the DM. It is the setting for a series of introductory modules. Thunder Rift can be used as a self-contained setting, or be inserted in any existing game world, but the official placement is as part of the world of Mystara, with the module Escape from Thunder Rift linking the Rift with the wider world and transitioning players from the boxed set to the full Rules Cyclopedia.

Nentir Vale[edit]

Nentir Vale is the sample community provided as a default setting in the 4th edition Dungeon Master's Guide. Most sourcebooks refer to the cosmology this community exists in as simply "the D&D world" though this appears to be an informal term. The overall setting is one in which great empires of various races, including tieflings and dragonborn, have long ago or recently fallen.

Towns and other civilization centers are described as "points of light" in an otherwise dark age, with the DM encouraged by the guidebook to leave the rest of the world largely unplanned, vague and unpredictable. The deities presented in the 4th edition Dungeon Master's Guide are a combination of Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms and newly created gods.


Pelinore is a lesser-known D&D campaign setting that was developed by TSR's UK offices in its Imagine magazine.

Pelinore articles primarily focused on a major urban center, the City League, and the surrounding county. Articles in Imagine detailed small locations within the City League that could also be used in any setting, as they were almost generic in execution.

Imagine presented a portion of this campaign world with each new issue from issue 16, up until its cancellation at issue 30. After the cancellation of Imagine, the former assistant editor, Paul Cockburn, created Game Master Publications. This series of unofficial D&D modules was set in Pelinore with newly drawn maps and some renamed locations (e.g., the "County of Cerwyn" became "Caerns"). Some modules described places beyond the boundaries of the established setting. From issue GM4 onwards Game Master Publications returned to the use of the original names and even reprinted the official maps from Imagine. Game Master Publications was cancelled at issue GM5 in 1987.


Main article: Planescape

A setting that crosses the numerous "planes of existence", as originally developed in the Manual of the Planes. The setting crossed Victorian era trappings with a pseudo-steampunk design and attitude. Planescape won acclaim on its unique visual aspects, products of artist Tony DiTerlizzi. The city of Sigil has appeared in the 3rd edition in the Planar Handbook and the Epic Level Handbook, in the 4th edition in Dungeon Master's Guide 2, and in the 5th edition Dungeon Master's Guide.


Main article: Ravenloft

A gothic horror setting originally created by Tracy and Laura Hickman for their own game system, "the duo eventually caught the attention of D&D's original publishers. They were hired to adapt it into the First Edition of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons and it was released as Module I6: Ravenloft"[43] in 1983 by TSR.[44] It was expanded into an entire series of adventure modules and then further expanded into a campaign setting for the AD&D 2nd edition beginning in 1990 with the Realm of Terror boxed set.[45][46][47] TSR also published a series of novels set in Ravenloft.[48][49]

In 2001, shortly after the release of D&D 3rd edition, Wizards of the Coast licensed Ravenloft to White Wolf Publishing which published Ravenloft materials through its Sword & Sorcery Studios imprint,[50][51] but rights returned to Wizards of the Coast in early 2006.[52] In October 2006, Wizards of the Coast released Expedition to Castle Ravenloft, an expanded and updated version of the original module for D&D v3.5.[53]: 294  In August 2010, Wizards of the Coast released the Castle Ravenloft Board Game.[54][55]

The setting was revisited in 2016 with the release of the 5th edition adventure module Curse of Strahd, with the setting's original creators, Tracy & Laura Hickman, returning as writers.[56]Van Richten's Guide To Ravenloft, a 5th edition Ravenloft campaign sourcebook, was released in 2021.[57] Christian Hoffer, for ComicBook.com, highlighted that this sourcebook revises many of the setting's Domains of Dread. He wrote that "the revised domains are usually a better utilization of the ironic intent that flavors the immortal prisons of Ravenloft. The domains also now include a variety of different horror genres rather than a fixation on gothic horror. Finally, much of the misogynistic, colonialist, or racist elements have been purged out of this new iteration of Ravenloft".[58]

Masque of the Red Death[edit]

Main article: Masque of the Red Death (Ravenloft)

A spin off of Ravenloft set in a fantasy, low magic, version of 1890s Earth.


Main article: Rokugan

When Wizards of the Coast published the latest edition of Oriental Adventures, it included Rokugan as the official "sample setting." Rokugan is best known for being the setting of the Legend of the Five Rings (L5R) themed games: the Legend of the Five Rings collectible card game and the Legend of the Five Rings Roleplaying Game, which are all published by The Alderac Entertainment Group (AEG). However, shortly after the publication of Oriental Adventures, AEG obtained all the publishing rights to all L5R properties. For a brief time, AEG published supplements that featured both L5R and D20 based mechanics. However, development of all D20 based Rokugan material has ceased, as Oriental Adventures is now out of print, and AEG has decided to focus solely on L5R based supplements for the next edition of The L5R Roleplaying Game, and this campaign setting is no longer officially supported as a D&D setting. Legend of the Five Rings 4th Edition (not related to D&D 4th Edition) was released in 2010.


Main article: Spelljammer

A setting based in "wildspace", a fantastical version of outer space based on classical notions of the universe in which magic-imbued ships interact with each other and locations in space, including campaign setting planets such as Forgotten Realms or Dragonlance, allowing for inter-campaign interaction. This campaign setting is no longer officially supported as a standalone campaign setting, but elements from the setting (such as spelljammer ships) have been included in supplement materials.


The Warcraft campaign setting, based on the computer gaming franchise Warcraft, was published by White Wolf Publishing via its Sword & Sorcery Studios imprint for the 3rd edition of D&D. Under a license with Wizards of the Coast, the campaign setting was recognized as an official campaign setting, indicated by the inclusion of the official D&D 3rd edition logo on the cover of the initial setting book (“Warcraft The Roleplaying Game”). This product was supported by five other books, before the setting was updated as “World of Warcraft The Role Playing Game”, a self-contained game. The game is no longer published.

Wilderlands of High Fantasy[edit]

Main article: Wilderlands of High Fantasy

Wilderlands of High Fantasy grew from the officially licensed D&D material from Judges Guild in the 1970s and 1980s including City State of the Invincible Overlord. Judges Guild, through Necromancer Games, also published a boxed set of the Wilderlands for 3rd Edition D&D in 2005.

The original edition ran to a total of 18 half-continent sized maps (some dealing with ocean settings), with details of the cities, towns, islands and ruins/lairs to be found. The setting was then used as a locale for a multitude of modules and characters published by Judges Guild.[59]


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External links[edit]

Sours: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dungeons_%26_Dragons_campaign_settings

Now discussing:

D&D: Top 10 Game Settings, Ranked

Dungeons and Dragons has existed for nearly 47 years. They have created some of the most inventive and incredible settings for players to explore. With so much content and materials for Dungeons and Dragons, it can be overwhelming. Every game of D&D needs a world and a setting to explore. Many DMs can create their own world through Homebrew content, but D&D provides many unique settings to play in as well.

RELATED: Dungeons & Dragons: 5 Best Video Games Based On D&D (& 5 Worst)

In D&D history, there have been several distinct and fascinating settings filled to the brim with lore, locations, NPC's, villains, and so much more. Not every game setting is created equal, as some D&D settings outclass others.

10 Forgotten Realms- The All-Time Classic Medieval Fantasy World

Inspired by classic fantasy tropes, the Forgotten Realms settings is the first setting many new players will encounter.

It has got Orcs. It has got Dwarves. It has got Elves. It has got ancient magical ruins and dungeons filled with magical loot. What is nice about this set is a ton of lore and materials are centered around this setting, so DMs will have plenty to work within it.

9 Dragonlance- A High Fantasy World Centered Around The Rule Of Dragons

Another classic setting, Dragonlance, is a world that is centered around the idea that Dragons are supreme and many of the Denzin's must fight back to save their civilization. The name derives from the powerful weapons used in destroying evil Dragons.

This setting also has a large series of novels that take place within it. The Novels are densely packed with the history of the setting that any player who reads the series would feel at home playing in this setting.

8 Ravenloft- A Setting Filled To Brim With Every Horror Imaginable

Ravenloft was introduced as the setting for all DM's horror campaigns. Many famous adventures, such as Curse of Strahd, take place in this terrifying setting. The idea behind this setting is that this inescapable mist surrounds multiple different domains.

RELATED: D&D: Top 10 Monsters In Van Richten's Guide To Ravenloft

Many D&D fans have known the setting as the go-to for horror. The most recent sourcebook, Van Richten Guide to Ravenloft, has brought the classic setting into the 5th edition. If DM's need a setting for Halloween, this is the prime choice.

7 Eberron- A Setting That Sprung From A Writing Contest

Eberron was the setting that won a writing contest held by Wizards of the Coast. It has since been published in both 4th and 5th editions. It is a dynamic steampunk pulp-action setting with an insanely diverse set of locations.

The setting provides a unique set of guilds, lore-rich kingdoms with sprawling metropolises to explore, and a diverse group of races to choose from. It is no wonder Eberron became an instant hit when it was introduced. This Setting also provides players with the Artificer class to choose from.

6 Exandria- The World Drafted From The Imagination Of Matt Mercer

Exandria is one of the newest settings in D&D history. This world is spawned from the popular actual-play show Critical Role. It is a prosperous high fantasy world that many players, fans or not, will enjoy.

RELATED: Critical Role: 5 Times The Players Stumped The DM (& 5 Times He Stumped Them)

The setting introduces new schools of magic for Wizards and a slew of new spells and monsters that all hail from the actual-play show. What is nice about this setting is that those who love the show, they now have a chance to play along in a world they have grown to love.

5 Ravnica- The First Setting Originating From The Magic The Gathering Lore

Ravnica is mainly a single city that spans the entire planet set in the Magic The Gathering's Universe. Ravnica focuses on a High-Magic society separated into 10 distinct guilds, all of which have various magical emphases in their trade.

The setting provides many new character variety for players to explore with Simic hybrids and fascinating magical items with powerful capabilities. If Players or DMS are looking for a high-magic world to explore in a giant sprawling city, then Ravnica is a clear choice.

4 Theros- For All The Greek Mythology Adventures To Explore

Theros is Magic the Gathering's take on Greek Mythology. It was introduced as a D&D setting in 2020. Much Like Ravnica, this setting is rich with lore originating from the card sets of Magic The Gathering.

This setting has the strongest take on Gods in any other D&D setting. Of course, every other D&D has some version of the Gods, but this one is inspired by greek mythos has a ton of lore and details that no other setting goes into. This is the setting to live out the Mythology adventure of a lifetime.

3 Dark Sun- The Post Apocalyptic Setting Where Magic Is Almost Non-Existent

Dark Sun was a D&D take on an apocalyptic world. The setting focuses on a world where magic has destroyed the planet. All that remains are shambles of civilization vying for resources.

RELATED: D&D: 10 Marvel Comics That Would Make Great Campaigns

This setting had a strong emphasis on Psionics as an alternative to magic. The setting also introduced a unique bug-like race that is not seen in any other campaign setting. There have been rumors of a 5e campaign book in this world, but only time will tell.

2 Spelljammer Brought D&D Into Space

Spelljammer is a classic setting where Wizards of the Coast try their hand at a space fantasy setting. This setting has unique spaceships with the style of ancient Galleons, a Hippo race, a strong emphasis on magical guns, and planetary navigation.

This setting is immediately dissentient from all the other settings, given that it is space fantasy. This campaign setting will scratch that itch to fly in space as an Orc.

1 Planescape- Multidimensional Travel Through A Slew Of Unique And Distinct Worlds

Planescape was a campaign setting focused on players traveling through the Outer planes of D&D lore. Theoretically speaking, this setting could occur within every other setting, centered on the Outer planes, which could feasibly exist around every other campaign world.

This is the top tier of D&D settings. The reason being is that there are practically dozens of unique and amazing worlds to explore in this setting. That is like having dozens of settings all in a single sourcebook.

NEXT: D&D: 5 Reasons Why Paladins Are The Best Holy Characters (& 5 Why It's Clerics)


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Daniel Colohan (38 Articles Published)

Daniel is a writer, filmmaker, game-master, and game player based in Los Angeles California. Daniel has studied at the University of Southern California: Santa Barbara earning a Bachelors in Film and Media studies. He has worked as a Dishwasher, a Performer at the local Zoo, an online salesman and now a lists writer for Comic Book Resources.

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