So I've been fiddling around with something new lately, with the initial inspiration being a mashup of the Land of Oz, classical Fairy Tales via Andrew Lang's Fairy Books, and imagery further reinforced courtesy of The Enchanted World.
Here's the first half of the campaign setting cheat sheet.
Once upon a time, the Land was free, home to many merry elves, dour dwarves, naughty gnomes, and flighty fairies, all led by mighty, kind, and just men and wizards. Then came the time of the Great Invasion from the Outside Lands…
In the north, Elfland was invaded by the horrible Goblins of Gixx; they passed under the Impassible Desert through tunnels.
In the east, Gnomeland was invaded by the terrible Orcs of Orcland, who sailed across the Shifting Sands in magical galleons or flew over the sands upon the backs of their war parrots.
In the south, Dwarfland was invaded by the villainous Gnoles of the Laughing Land, who crossed the Great Sandy Wastes upon the backs of their hyenadon steeds or flew high above the sands in the arms of their gargoyle allies.
In the west, Fairyland was invaded by the Drow of the Nightmare Realm (found deep underground beneath the Kingdom of Evil) who sailed across the Deadly Desert in magical dragon-prowed ships or flew high above upon the backs of dragons.
In all the Land, only the shining City of Wonders at the heart of the Land remained free. There, protected by the High King and the most powerful wizards and mightiest heroes of the Land, countless refugees fled the depredations of the invaders. All seemed lost, even in the face of the great heroism of men, wizards, elves, dwarves, gnomes, fairies, and even halflings, until, as evil is often wont to do, it turned upon itself…
The formerly allied invaders turned on each other in their zeal to get at the City of Wonders and conquer all the Land for themselves. Their fragile alliance broken, they turned to invading each other’s conquered lands rather than pressing against the City of Wonders. In time, the newly-conquered lands fell into complete chaos, as goblins, orcs, gnoles, and drow all fought each other…
Today, 10 years later, the land remains in chaos, with the City of Wonders and the Royal Realm around it the only spot of peace and order.
Compass: Land: Color: Metal: Primary Culture*: Primary God and Goddess
North: Elfland: Green: Copper: Gaelic: Danaan and Lugh
East: Gnomeland: Blue: Tin: Dutch: Frey and Freya
South: Dwarfland: Red: Iron: German: Thor and Sif
West: Fairyland: Yellow: Bronze: French: Belenus and Belisama
Central: Royal Realm: Purple: Gold: Italian: Jove and Juno
Everywhere: Good Magic-users: White: Silver: Latin: (Merlin and Morgana)
Everywhere: Halflings: Any: Any: English**: (Rarely concerned with such matters)
Elsewhere: Evil Magic-users: Black: Brass: Secret Tongue: (Old Nick and Hecate)
North: Goblins: Furs: Iron: Slavic: Chernobog and Baba Yaga
East: Orcs: Riotous: Iron: Pirate: Leviathan and Kraken
South: Gnoles : Brown/Tan: Iron: Arabic: Gargoyle (m) and Corpse Tearer (f)
West: Drow: Black: Iron: Norse: Hel and Loki
* The culture that is native to that race. The listing is an Earth equivalent it is not the Earth culture by name. It is not “French” culture or the “French” language; it is the Fairy culture and the Fairy language.
** The Common Tongue
Player Character Cultural Origins
Halfling*: Racial Cousins: Culture
Hairfeet: Mostly Humans: English
Tallfellow: Mostly Elves: Gaelic
Broadgirdle: Mostly Gnomes: Dutch
Stout: Mostly Dwarves: German
Twinkle-Eye: Mostly Fairies: French
* 65% of the time, Halflings are of Hairfoot variety. The rest of the time, roll as per the native homeland race (Elfland, Gnomeland, Dwarfland, or Fairyland) to determine culture. If from the Royal Realm, there is a 96% chance of being a Hairfoot, otherwise, roll based on the nearest demihuman settlement.
Royal Realm: 01-60
Note that there are no half-elves in the Land; any child begotten of a human and elf is a halfling (a Tallfellow, to be sure), just as any child begotten of a dwarf and gnome is a halfling (Broadgirdle or Stout), or for that matter, of any race with any other race, or of halflings with halflings, the result is a halfling. Thus, halflings are a plurality in the Land, and very nearly a majority!
Similarly, there are no half-breeds of the humanoid sort as the humanoid races do not reproduce normally:
Goblins reproduce by fission; when a goblin grows fat on loot and plunder, he feasts upon special mushrooms from the goblin warrens, goes into torpor, and puffs up like a puffball, then after 1d3 days splits into 2d6 goblins, each with partial memories of their “sire.” If the goblin also feasted on man-flesh before going into torpor, the fleshy puffball bursts to reveal 1d6 hobgoblins. If a hobgoblin reproduces by fission, it splits into 2d6 hobgoblins, but if it also feasted on the flesh of a powerful animal or monster of 3 HD before it went into torpor (such as, most commonly, a bear), the fleshy puffball bursts to reveal 1d6 bugbears.
Orcs reproduce by budding; when grown fat, an orc produces 2d4 buds that fall off after 1d3 days. These are placed in a spawning pool, or simply tossed into a nearby lagoon where the bud bursts open to reveal the orc larva or “maggot.” Provided there is enough food, orc maggots grow fast; they resemble nothing more or less than humanoid piranhas. The largest surviving 1d3 maggots grow to become a full orcs within 2d4+2 days; lesser maggots grow into smees (“petty orcs,” as per kobolds in size and abilities). Orcs spawned in a breeding pool that is regularly supplied with man flesh invariably all grow into full-fledged orcs, with the most 1d3 most successful maggots developing into high orcs, of greater intellect and abilities (as per half-orcs).
Gnoles reproduce in two ways. First, most gnoles are born of hyenadon females; each litter of 2 to 6 cubs is divided equally into normal hyenadons and gnoles. The gnole cubs grow quickly, able to fight as 1/2 HD monsters immediately, as 1 HD monsters at 1 year, and attaining 2 HD maturity within two years. Secondly, gnole witches and allied evil witches are able to create gnoles by supplying a potion to evil Men who seek power; the potion grants them the power they seek, but it also transforms them into gnoles (d20% cumulative chance per use of the potion).
Drow reproduce the normal way, as they are in truth merely dark elves, and so reproduce as do the elves. Drow-descended halflings are like other halflings in all respects, save that their skin, like that of the drow, is ebon black, and their hair is bone white; too, while they are much like their Goodly cousins, being rustic in nature, most dark halflings revel in Chaos and Evil, as their cousins find contentment in Law and Good.