Content of the article: "Don’t like the Feywild and Shadowfell as presented? Here’s a way I’ve decided to frame them in my setting that could be a nice alternative."
You've got the great wheel with its alignment based planes. You've got the elemental planes. And then you have the feywild and shadowfell which are… "your world, but even elfier" and "your world, but clinically depressed".
I can't be the only one who took a peep at them and said "Yawn."
So I sat down and I thought for a lil' while. The shadowfell and the feywild have almost the same geography as the prime material plane they're linked to, but one is filled with fantastic beasts, untamed wilds and nature spirits, and the other is depressing and filled with undead that want to eat you?
And I realized; this is perfect for time travel! The Feywild and Shadowfell can just be the same world a fixed number of years in the present and past, respectively. I personally use a nice even million, but probably anything long enough to get away from multiple generations of creatures like elves would suffice.
The Feywild can be your world before the emergence of mortal civilization as we know it. Something like Genndy Tartakovsky's Primal, or Land of the Lost or even The Lost World.
And the Shadowfell? That's Fallout, baby! The post-apocalyptic hellscape of your fantasy world; maybe people did progress along Earth's technological levels and managed to bomb themselves back to the stone age, or maybe some sort of magical catastrophe killed everyone. The only things left are roaches, undead and maybe a few constructs here and there. You want bleak? Baby, it doesn't get more bleak than a medieval fantasy adventurer wandering through the dusty ruins of a future they'll never see.
As soon as this idea popped into my head I had to integrate them into my world and my players love them. The fixed points in time and distant timeframes do remove lots of urgency about "mucking around in the past" or "how do we stop this future!" since, respectively, nothing that is known to effect the modern day is present in the Feywild and the players have no idea when the apocalypse happens in the future (try to emphasize that the architecture and artifacts of the Shadowfell are completely unrecognizable, have cities and rivers and even whole continents be in weird places), but they still feel "real", more real than the "overlapping, barely changed" plans of the default D&D setting.
- Advice request: First time designing an artefact.
- An idea for Mercury should it ever return
- So I rolled on the “Feywild Time Warp” table for my party…
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