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World Mountain - D&D 5e Campaign Setting


So I've been playing around with a new idea, which is an amalgamation of many influences. I was thinking of creating a high fantasy setting that made space for all races and options. Previously I'd created a setting from a central concept or 'big idea' which would result in limitations on a game such as D&D (but work well with other rulesets - including my own). I flipped it, thinking what could I create to include everything. Specifically I was thinking about everything from Volo's and Xanathar's.

I combined ideas from Planescape, Flash Gordon, Norse Mythology and other areas to create the World Mountain setting in an impulsive moment one night. I kind of wanted to have a world where the 'first race' or 'old race' wasn't elves, but dwarves. Dwarves don't get enough love in fantasy settings. So runic magic will feature at some point. However, this was then the basis of the World Mountain where one collosal mountain connects several whole worlds, which provide fertile ground for all the types of creatures and characters plus plenty of adventure. So this is the result.

This thread will serve as some sort of worldbuilding area for this concept. I'll share more as I go. It will be slow rolling progress, but hopefully you might get something out of it. If you have any questions or thoughts fire away!

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I've really been enjoying working on a fresh setting. The World Mountain keeps drawing me back. I've been working on civilisations, pantheons and a few ideas for magic items.

Some ideas I've had rattling around my head are:

An underground lake in the Fey Forest layer is very slowly dripping through down to the Prime layer. Where it lands it forms a glacier down the side of a mountain, within sight of Phanirieth, the Elven capital. The Ice Warlocks of the city pledge their souls to the Fey leviathans that circle in the lake above, their essence distilled in the glacier.

The Dwarven background of the world means there is a lot of runic magic, which humans have adapted into a runic tattoo magic. There will be magic items based on this process and what spells can be replicated in this method. This might have a blood (HP) cost for the wielder and a limit to the levels of effect a body can be covered in.

The realm of Braktagar is named for the Hobgoblin Conquest Paladin of Maetalin who united the goblinoids and orcs under the oppressive rule of hobgoblin masters. When he died in combat the island nations declared independence. These now seek trade and friendship among the other races. Braktagar privateer vessels wage a constant war on their shores.

Aarakocra barbarian tribes descend from the underneath of the Fey Forest layer to harass the flying trade vessels that ply trade routes between the Grand Empire of Thastain and the splendid city of Q'Esben. Their constant attentions have lead to the Empire hiring naval pirate crews to tackle them head on.

That's just a few. There will be more.

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Why are goblins plying trade down at the market these days? Why do orcs crew many of the ships pulling into harbour? Well it’s a long story. Sit down, pass me that ale and I’ll tell you.

It was hobgoblins. You see, orcs are not clever enough and goblins, well goblins just couldn’t ever subdue the others. They’re too weak and cowardly. Bugbears? Crazy bastards are too crazy for any kind of organised system of government. No, hobgoblins. With all their regimented ruthlessness they were the driving force behind the fall of Strondumir and the successful invasion of the World Mountain.

It was two generations ago now, my grandfather talked about it often in his waning years. We all now know the nation of Braktagar, if you can call it that. Ha. Once it was a united collection of orcish and goblinoid tribes, which cemented through an iron fist the island nations of Gomar, Kegotra and Zemrion. Now that was something no-one ever thought was going to happen. They fought among themselves for so long, it was impossible. Or so the Kingdom of Nollos and the Grand Empire of Thastain believed. Both countries looked out across the waters and were glad these creatures fought amongst themselves and rarely plundered their waters.

Back then Braktagar was just a hobgoblin, although a powerful one. A disciple of the god of murder and revenge, Maetalin, this soldier in the army of Zemrion rose to be a powerful warmaster. Dark magic gifted by his god guided his blade in battle and his mind at strategy. His power was such that no other could challenge him in single combat. Or so grandfather said in moments of fancy. Anyway, he took control of their army and then the nation itself, slaughtering the ruling Orc family himself.

His victory at the Battle of Thunder Straits was a turning point in the fortune of those islands. With the largest fleet of Kegotra defeated, Braktagar was quick to land his forces and seize the island nation. The stabbed hand black banners of Braktagar’s god flew over the jagged peaks of two defensible islands. Suddenly a fractured annoyance became a serious threat. The Empire sent ships to harry, but the Nollosian Civil War was in full swing. It wasn’t enough. The Civil War? Ah, don’t worry. I’ll tell you about that some day too.

Well, Gomar fell shortly after and the black flag of Maetalin was raised across the orcish and goblinoid lands of this realm. It was a dark day. Uniforms were stitched, armour forged, war machines built and orc, goblin, bugbear and hobgoblin marched in step under vicious totalitarian rule. However, to the surprise of the human nations to the west and south they did not move outward into the realm. Instead they sought the riches of the World Mountain. Braktagar wanted to disgrace Ondrum, creator of the world, in the name of his own god.

The dwarves don’t really talk of the invasion, as it penetrated deep into Strondumir and pushed them back to the far northern caverns and citadels of the World Mountain. Which you can’t blame them for really. It was a vicious war, vast legions marching through tunnel, cave and chasm to smash the dwarven nation within. Braktagar became one of the most powerful leaders in the realm. He gave his own name to his expanding empire.

The one thing the dwarves do talk about is that Kedar Kromdrael, the then Clanmaster of Strondumir, slew Braktagar in single combat bringing a collosal rockslide down upon him within the bowels of the mountain. Kedar died of his wounds shortly after. But not too soon to share the tale.

Without Braktagar at the head of his nation, his admirals and generals took to arms to resolve who should lead. As this played out inside the mountain, the island nations, temporarily free of the armies and iron fist, declared independence. The stabbed hand flags were burnt. When Relivok, the new leader of the nation Braktagar rose, she found her empire fractured almost over night.

They’ve spent the best part of the last twent years fighting amongst themselves and shoring up as the dwarves redoubled their efforts in the World Mountain. Without the inspiring crystal clear ruthlessness of Braktagar himself, the nation has never been the fearsome fighting machine it once was, and a bloody good job too.

So here’s the thing. Rumour has it that it wasn’t the dwarven Clanmaster that really brought Braktagar down. Legend has it that Braktagar’s ego and power had swelled to such a state that Maetalin had become jealous of his own disciple. The black banners were being worshipped, but it was their worldly leader that the nation feared. So in that final moment when Braktagar needed all his power, Maetalin withdrew his patronage, withdrew the unholy power that hobgoblin emperor had wielded to such great effect.

I know, I know. It sounds far fetched, but really it goes to show that you shouldn’t really piss off the god of revenge. Anyway, whatever happened the freed nations of Gomar, Kegotra and Zemrion are now keen to trade and make parley with Nollos, Erilos and even the Empire. With Braktagar at your back, I supposeit’s good to have some friends.


So, that’s why we have goblins and orcs in the city these days. They’re the survivors of tyranny and they need all the help they can get.