The Conqueror’s Continent is the main setting of the campaign I’m currently running. I built the Conqueror’s Continent because I wanted to build my own living and breathing world. I had run a campaign in the Sword Coast previously, and most DND games I had played in myself were set in the Forgotten Realms as well. I think I was most fascinated by the one DND game where our DM created the world, because I couldn’t just discover things about the world online. It was fresh, it was new, and but also frustrating in the fact that I didn’t know everything. That just sparked hunger in my character and myself’s need to explore, so I wanted to create the same feeling.
Building the Geography
The general build of the “Continent” was a collection of large island nation countries. In truth, this was slightly for the convenience of me and player back story. Being a bunch of countries largely surrounded by water, meant that I could plop down the Continent off the Sword Coast, or maybe somewhere in Eberron if need be. I settled it for the purposes of my players’ story at this time, but I still feel I could insert it anywhere I wanted when time came.
The shape and geography of the Kingdom of Gull was pretty built in my mind, since it was our first player’s starting point. I based it on France, naming the country by tweaking the name Gaul to Gull. Initial creation of the rest of the countries – their names, shapes, geography, were arbitrarily decided by me. I tried to follow some sort of pattern that I thought would make sense, like the run of mountains from Gull all the way to Dale, like some sort of tectonic plate connected there, but I mean, I didn’t really try to think about it too much at the time.
After I managed the initial shaping of the Conqueror’s continent, I tried to find a way to bring it to life. In truth, I looked at some campaign map generators, like Campaign Cartographer, but its learning curve and price tag seemed daunting to me. Inkarnate was a free online map maker that was simple and easy to use and still in beta. I was excited about its ease of use, and eventually the map came to life. This is when I really had to think about geographical placement, where it would make sense for cities and towns to exist, and how rivers run with lakes. It took a while. Putting things on the map was easy with the program, whether it would make sense for things to actually be there was the hard part to discern.
Culture and Naming Sense
General culture of the Continent was tough. I don’t have the best naming sense, usually putting together whatever syllabyles sound good. So I decided to rip off some real world things. Gull was the typical medieval fantasy world one could think of. I treated it like old England/France, drawing names and inspirations from such. Glaed’nn was decidedly elvish so that was simple. I decided to name Rangoon’s cities by tweaking Southeast Asian city names from counties like he Philippines, Myanmar, Indonesia, and Vietnam. Rangoon was the country where industry and science was beginning to bloom in the world of magic. Dale was Nordic in my mindset, so the dictatorship, where strength and power was the only rule, came easy in naming. These were the simpler countries.
The harder parts came Sorden, Videntia, and Amentia. We’ll skip Astor and I’ll detail that completely when I do the countries individually. After a while, I decided to use German naming sense for cities except where elves or dwarves were involved, though I thought that the German names fit well for dwarven cities too. I decided to base it on a militaristic, prosperous country with its special hidden order. Videntia was the place of demons (No devils allowed!). So we skipped the cities that would never build in such a chaotic place and settled for areas. Now I don’t personally know Abyssal, so I went with old latin names to go with the demonic island. And Amentia. I had thoughts for Amentia, but its still not fully formed. I’ll get to it if the party gets there.
I won’t go to deep into history since I know most people find history boring unless it’s relevant. The story should be engaging for character’s exploring the continent, finding random tidbits. The general history of the continent starts about 1000 years before the current campaign. Not too much is listed in general histories about what happened before the arrival of the conqueror except in Alhambra and Sorden. Then, the conqueror Gilgamesh came from the West with his armies, taking over the continent, some areas by force, other by diplomacy, leaving Videntia to rot with its demons, and letting Amentia and its water people lay dormant in their home. No wars were waged since, except for about thirty years ago which was a civil war in Glaed’nn.
Bringing the Continent to Life
I’m still working on main histories of each country, though Gull and Alhambra have well-shaped histories since my group has landed there. I plan to fill this out more and continue sharing with you guys.
“They know not the truth of their rich continent, these coddled masses. But I choose to become a god among these people, and you shall be its kings and queens. And together, our names shall live in legend and the annals of history. So raise, your sword, and fight! The Continent of the Dawn shall be ours.” – Gilgamesh to his men as they first landed on the shores of Videntia, where his armies first arrived in the Continent.