The Five Corners Campaign Modules
Writing and Creative Samples from D&D 5e Campaign Setting ◦ 2016 - 2020
These are some samples from 200,000 words and dozens of articles of campaign notes. The setting is currently on Legend Keeper (currently in beta), which works like a wiki and atlas for game settings. The current plan is to break out pieces of the campaign setting into individual modules (described below).
Lore Handouts Sample - PDF (3 pg)
Ancient documents discovered near arcane leylines: army orders, a journal, and a missive to a warrior king.
Region Description Sample, Al Arak - PDF (8 pg)
A fantastical city built by archaeologists and opportunists salvaging the ruins of a fallen gnome empire.
Magical Lore Sample, The Dicta Major Arcanum - PDF (2 pg)
Summaries of the most important essays from a larger collection that defines the known laws of magic.
Species Description Sample, Dragons - PDF (4 pg)
The Socialite Crystalline, Loner Metallic, and Monstrous Chromatic, dragons are the stewards of magic, advisers to kings, stabilizers of residuum, and integral protectors of magical ecosystems across the world.
The campaign setting is made up of many regions and factions, interrelated and deeply considered.
Modules in Progress
While I have created this setting for my own personal D&D campaigns, I prepare my content and write all of my notes from the perspective of publishing the work, and I am currently in the process of preparing independent modules to break out and release over time. Each module will be structured in a way where a game master could easily integrate the content into their own game setting, but each will also come with a section that contextualizes the content of the module in The Five Corners campaign setting. Below are the first three planned modules.
The Way of the Altered Mind
Formed around a Monk subclass that focuses on drugs and altered states of consciousness, the module includes a dosing and overdosing game system along with a copious list of fun fantasy drugs (of both mundane and magical origins). Many of these drugs are similar to potions, but they provide interesting bonuses AND penalties to player stats and gameplay mechanics. The Monk subclass possesses features that interact with the drug dosing mechanics, allowing them to ignore drug penalties, impose those penalties on enemies, and eventually to gain the bonuses of any drug they've ever tried once per short rest. The drugs and their mechanics are all balanced around working well with this subclass and having a clear place among existing magic items in D&D 5th edition.
The Divine Pantheon of Dual Aspects
The religious lore of popular D&D settings can be very overwhelming, with dozens to hundreds of gods in play and very little content at hand for players or DMs to become absorbed in an existing set of lore. Content on the topic of divine domains and gods is often relatively generic and easy to improvise around so that players can make up their own religion and worship, but this tends to feel less true-to-life, less structured, and thus harder to become deeply invested in. To solve these problems, The Five Corners has a Divine Pantheon of fourteen gods and fourteen divine domains. The nature of these gods and the associated forms of worship and religious organizations are structured specifically with the goal of giving players a digestible and memorable divine mythos to engage with.
In this divine pantheon, the domains are split into opposing pairs, each ruled over by a single god with two aspects. There are examples of utterly opposed aspects, such as Koth the Warlord and Koth the Trickster, domains wherein followers of one aspect tend to despise the ways of the other aspect. There are also examples where the two aspects are not enemies but do have implicit opposition, as with Eisen the World Scholar and Eisen the Steward of Wilds. Lastly, there are examples where the lines bleed, as when sea-faring folks see Everlee the Sky Queen and Everlee the Ocean Mother as an entwined aspect called The Tempest Warden.
Magic of the Leylines
The magical lore of The Five Corners is designed to provide a deep engagement for players who are interested in approaching D&D from the angle seen in the works of fantasy authors like Brandon Sanderson and Patrick Rothfuss. The setting recognizes magic as a complex and dangerous force, and it is one where individuals are legally registered to practice magic in metropolitan regions and where magical universities, conclaves, and academics are common features of the world’s stories and journeys.
The player’s point of view of magical lore is The Dicta Major Arcanum, which is a series of essays contributed to by mages of the world describing the general observed laws of magic. It covers the reason why some individuals can use magic and others cannot through the Shard Spark that mortals can be born with. It describes the Spark Tunings that allow mages to control magic in different ways, such as the Intellect Tuning wielded by Wizards and the Aesthetic Tuning wielded by Bards. There are also descriptions of how magic manifests in nature through Magic Residuum (a result of natural forces or the aftermath of incredibly powerful rituals) and how this Residuum can bend the laws of reality, lead to the creation of monstrous beings, or be an integral element of magical ecosystems.
The DM’s point of view of magical lore regards the Leylines. These are literal paths that cross the world in patterns that the players must discover, and they abide by strict laws, connecting to very specific elements of both magic and metaphysics. They are tied to the fundamental nature of the world and all who live in it, and they are effectively the "source of magic." Knowledge regarding the nature and use of Leylines is generally forbidden or very difficult to uncover. There are locus points along the lines where specific magical laws may be interacted with or manipulated. Mastering the Leylines and their control points is the key to acquiring magic above 5th level spells and very rare magic items, and so the magic system in this setting provides a very tangible incentive to both players and NPCs of the world to engage with the fundamental nature of magic.
The setting is made up of five major regions with vastly different cultures and histories.
The world as a whole is known as The Five Corners. It is a strange world where the sun is fixed in single position in the sky (perceived in the same spot from all places), rotating in place to dim and become the moon, granting nighttime. The campaign using this setting has focused on the region of Pentilos, a massive archipelago of islands connecting four minor continents. Like in reality, the technological and social progress of these regions is out of sync, but recent magic-technological growth is seeing the rise of a more globalist economy. Much of the world is in a period of cultural and economic evolution at least at the level of 18th century Europe.
The varied races in D&D are mostly divided through the continents and their sub-regions, with each region given enough breathing room for its own unique cultures and societies to develop.
In the North, Esedria is home to a human kingdom recently settling into an representative-based oligarchy (flavored with a mixture of real-world western European and deep American South high society). Quelquainaia holds the empire of Asiatic elves, isolationist and hidden in their tree-cities.
To the South, Oen'Bemos has sprawling plains of warring orc clans that define themselves by magical Relics left behind by a fallen gnome empire. The dwarves of Duguros live exclusively under their mountains (most experiencing "mountain sickness" if they leave), split between the communistic Duundr clans and the aristocracy-driven Da'Den clans.
Connecting them all is Pentilos, at the heart of which is The Melting Pot, the seat of the Pentilos Throne but ruled largely through a complex oligarchic organization called The Kalani Conglomerate, otherwise known as The Guild of Guilds. War has not seen the central region in over two centuries, but the world is in a period of High Magic and recently-developing Magi-Technology has begun to heavily impact trade and politics.
Not all Races and Creatures from the official D&D settings have a place in this world, but many are justified through a concept of "Magic Residuum," the raw flow of magic left in nature from various events. This magic can lead to the spontaneous creation of new flora and fauna, thus allowing the magical creatures of the world to have unique relevance to their locales.
Most D&D and fantasy tropes are pushed at least one degree in a new direction in order to keep the players surprised and subvert expectations. For instance, the first sessions established that Goblins are hive-mind creatures that live underground, often considered a difficult-to-remove invasive vermin wherever they reside. The party negotiated peace between a goblin hive and a township, the struggle of which was defined by the alien nature of the goblins and their lack of comprehension of human ways.