So you’ve played D&D, Dungeons and Dragons, a couple of times. You’re fairly familiar with the rules, but the setting doesn’t really appeal to you. The knights in armor, medieval-thing just ain’t your bag, man. And learning a whole new system seems daunting, and what if you don’t like that either? Learn a third system for a third kind of game you may or may not like either? We say thee, nay! There are numerous third party settings for the Fifth Edition D&D system. Sci-Fi, fantasy, future, noir, hack and slash, political thriller, you only need to know where to look to find something that suits your interests. Then branching out to other systems within the settings you enjoy is less stressful of an idea. So here are 5 D&D Fifth Edition settings for your TTRPG group to try out!
Hardcore D&D players will know of official settings like Dark Sun, Eberron, Dragonlance, and Ravenloft. But when you’re familiar with those settings, sometimes you can fall into similar play styles that make them all blend together. Sometimes what a group, and a DM specifically, needs is a brand new setting to explore. That’s where third-party settings really shine.
Aram Vartian crafted Godsfall after a D&D campaign got bogged down by the pursuit of magical items. Aram wanted a setting that magic and its items felt special, rare, unique. Godsfall takes place 100 years after an epic battle where the Gods of Khalgun destroyed themselves. Now, a century later, the gods are returning as mortals. Your character begins to manifest Divinities, powers of godhood gained each character level based on the domain the player chooses. Will your characters change things for the better, or will they repeat the mistakes of their predecessors? Aram just finished up his Kickstarter for ‘Rise of the Demigods‘, set before the war that destroyed much of the world and the gods themselves, letting your characters design their very own Demigod to play and wreak glorious havoc with.
Thule, described as Conan meets Cthulhu, puts your characters in a dark fantasy setting. Mankind is still a young race, exploring a world dominated by monsters, elder horrors, and creatures far higher up the food chain. With numerous campaigns ready to go, your group can delve through ancient tombs, discover hidden horrors and build larger-than-life heroes with subclasses, personality quirks, or unique Thulean feats. Thule is for players who want a little more urgency and higher stakes.
Mists of Akuma is an eastern fantasy noir steampunk setting. That sentence kept getting cooler the longer it went on. Steampunk meets Samurai warriors, Mists of Akuma gives amazing archetypes to add to existing classes. Paladin samurai, Ninja Rogues, Bardic Gun Priests. There are theme-appropriate archetypes for everyone. Mists of Akuma also adds 14 new races to really capture the feel of Soburin, the land Mist of Akuma takes place in. How does it get any cooler than Steampunk Ninjas? Steampunk in an Eastern style is sure to shake things up for your table.
Matt Mercer and company over at Critical Role have built an elaborate world in the setting of Tal’dorei. Are you a fan of Critical Role, the show where nerdy ass voice actors get together to play Dungeons & Dragons? Well, now you can create characters and play in the exact same world as Critical Role. Mercer has built a rich, vibrant world with a history and background that runs through each city and village you pass through. Don’t forget to grab the classes Mercer created for his games, Gunslinger and Blood Hunter!
Maybe medieval fantasy isn’t your thing. The Steampunk era and Eastern style didn’t venture far enough away from the traditional D&D setting for you. That’s where Hypercorps 2099 steps in. Bringing the world of Dungeons & Dragons slamming into the future, Hypercorps 2099 pits characters against hypercorporations, much in the vein of Shadowrun. Hypercorps adds six class archetypes, the ballistics brawler monastic tradition, cyber ninja rogue archetype, cyber samurai martial archetype, mechwarrior sorcerous origin, netjacker rogue archetype, and veloces monk tradition, as well as futuristic equipment and skills. Hypercorps also adds the Hyper Score System, adding lethal abilities to a player’s arsenal. Hypercorps adds two new attributes to characters, Luck and Reputation, as well as a Wealth attribute shared by the party to fund missions without imbalacing player wealth economy. No more characters with ALL the goodies and one character who still has holes in their boots.
Whether you’re new to D&D or a decades-of-experience veteran, new settings can breathe life into a group with minimal fuss. So grab the dice bag, tell Russel not to forget the drinks this time (Russel’s always forgetting the damn drinks!), pop those pizza rolls into the microwave and gather around the table to explore new worlds and build exciting stories with your friends.
Do you have a favorite D&D setting, 5E or otherwise? Let us know in the comments below or hit us up on Facebook or Twitter!