Blackmoor (5e Campaign Setting)

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This is a campaign setting combined with a series of episodes which serve as DM notes as the game unfolded. I've included it here as a resource for other DMs to run with if they would like to. I'm afraid that it will not give you a fully defined game setting as much of it was only coloured in when it was needed but if nothing else it might serve to give you insight into how we roll.

Obviously, kudos to Dave Arnseson and Gary Gygax for the game and the city name - any further similarities with their Blackmoor campaign setting are coincidental.

Design Philosophy[edit]

Much of what I intend to put here has been added on the fly, the starting point has always been theme and flavour, then setting and finally story. In general I try and make notes on what I need and as it is introduced it enters into the canon and I will refer back to it at that point. Clearly that might mean that there are inconsistencies which we try to patch up or we blithely ignore.


The campaign is set in a world where arcane magic is waning and divine magic has never really established a foothold. As the party plays through the levels and characters come and go we will explore why things are changing and maybe bring the campaign to a crisis point - either a new flowering of arcane and/or divine magic or a final disappearance of one or both of them.

One consequence of this is that arcane spell casters are discouraged though they are permitted. At the start of the campaign we are clear that arcane magic is never subtle when cast, is feared and outlawed and that access to new spells, scrolls and such will be very difficult. On top of this, magic items are limited to those that still remain, crafted in times long past, so mostly metal items.


The goal was to create a low fantasy setting in which, for the lower levels at least, the party would be made up of thieves and other 'Right Folk'. Lots of the sessions focussed on pretty low level crime and work for unsavoury patrons.


We created a large city, Blackmoor is the setting for the early adventures, it sits in the kingdom of Caister which is itself set on a peninsular much like the Iberian Peninsular. So lots of coastline and neighbours separated by a mountain range in the far north. Discovered early on, beneath the city is a huge underground labyrinth known colloquially as Wunderland and gateway to the underworld.


The story is still developing, what I have here are my DM notes from the chapters of the first Act. I don't imagine that this is all you would need to follow our footsteps but you might find them interesting for a perspective on how I build and develop a game.

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