I’ve been spending far more time than I should lately reading about the Pellatarrum setting over at Lurking Rhythmically. It’s a D&D (or Pathfinder) setting that throws off some of the standard fantasy setting tropes; after all almost all settings are really just variations of a Tolkien-esque western European fantasy world. While Pellatarrum has the familiar fantasy races — dwarves and elves and orcs — so that it’s familiar enough for RPG gamers, the world itself is startling different.
It reminds me in some ways of the feeling I had when reading the Prince of Nothing series (which was a kind of eastern fantasy setting) — the idea that hey, this is magic and make-believe, it can be anything so why is everyone always doing it exactly the same?
In the ancient history of Pellatarrum Armageddon has already come and gone. The entire material plane was annihilated along with the outer planes, and thus all of the gods and demons. Small bits of the races survived in the elemental planes and, over enough time, managed to reconstruct the material plane — only very differently. It’s a vast disc rotating between the negative and positive energy planes and it’s these planes that provide day and night, rather than a sun.
This has all kinds of fascinating ramifications, including the fact that couples can only conceive during the daytime (when the positive energy is bathing the world). Liasons are safe at night, but the effects of the negative energy plane heighten the chances of STDs. The settings of Pellatarrum is filled with all kinds of neat concepts and ramifications. I’m also particularly fond of the creation of the races and the unique take on the culture of them all.
I definitely recommend checking out Pellatarrum. At the very least it’s the kind of thing that can help DMs rethink their own house-campaign settings and realize that this is fantasy and you can do anything you want with it.