Realms - At A Glance


Realms Creation Introduction

This system for creating fantasy realms is for everything from a tract of wilderness (such as a forest), to towns and cities, baronies and up to empires. It can even be used for small groups such as a goblin tribe or organisations such as religions and guilds.

For some realms you simply omit or ignore certain entries throughout the process of creating. The size of the realm tends to determine how many different aspects you roll.

Everything on this first page sets up the basic size and traits of your realm that helps guide further rolls in the other steps.

The many tables and ideas that follow are not only a system for creating a realm, but a list of references that you will find helpful when determining aspects of a realm on the fly.

This section is the important information gathered at the top of the Realm Template. GMs simply looking for a way to distinguish a community, tribe. kingdom, etc. from others, can just roll on the Traits table. This table was inspired by Mark A. Hart's article Designer Demesnes in Dragon Magazine 229 p28. One of my all-time favourite Dragon articles.

Inspiration & Resources

Throughout the pages I link and table MANY places you can go for additional ideas and tables. This is my way of putting everything together in one place, as I hate the feeling of some awesome material sitting there in a book I own not having the chance of being used. I hope you, as a GM seek some of these out.

My biggest inspiration for all this is the 2E D&D World Builder's Guidebook, Richard Baker, TSR product. In fact, this whole realms creation thing is basically my version of that book where I have expanded on tables and added a bunch more resources that have been released since.

Other resources I recommend; these don't necessary have tables and charts to use in your realm generation, but contain loads of advice on building your own realm/setting/world:

  1. The Kobold Guide to Worldbuilding, various authors, Kobold Press.
  2. The Lazy Dungeon Master, Sly Flourish.



Give the realm or organisation a name.

If you are going to use some of the charts below to determine name randomly, then you will have to determine Type of realm first (and possibly level/size, race, and the terrain).

Idea Charts & References

Name Chart Resource
Arctic AEG's Ultimate Toolbox p44
Badlands AEG's Ultimate Toolbox p45
City AEG's Ultimate Toolbox p57 + 81
Civilised AEG's Ultimate Toolbox p52
Desert AEG's Ultimate Toolbox p45
Dwarf AEG's Ultimate Toolbox p53
Elf AEG's Ultimate Toolbox p53
Evil AEG's Ultimate Toolbox p45
Exotic AEG's Ultimate Toolbox p53
Forest AEG's Ultimate Toolbox p46
Goblin AEG's Ultimate Toolbox p53
Lost Kingdoms Sly Flourish The Lazy DM's Companion p44
Lowlands AEG's Ultimate Toolbox p47
Marsh AEG's Ultimate Toolbox p48
Mountains AEG's Ultimate Toolbox p48
Plains AEG's Ultimate Toolbox p46
Planar AEG's Ultimate Toolbox p292
Port AEG's Ultimate Toolbox p173
Town AEG's Ultimate Toolbox p57
Tribal AEG's Ultimate Toolbox p52
Village AEG's Ultimate Toolbox p56
Water AEG's Ultimate Toolbox p44


Place a picture of the symbol alongside the name of the realm – or simply describe.

Idea Charts & References

Idea Resource
Coats of Arms AEG's Ultimate Toolbox p96
Flags AEG's Ultimate Toolbox p103


Usually you will choose the type of realm, as this is the very thing you are creating. If you wish to create a realm completely at random then roll on the table below. This should form the basis for all decisions made later and is an overall ‘template’ for the realm. Descriptions for each type follow the table.

Roll Type Description Game Mechanics
01-10 Borderlands Borderlands’are exactly that – regions that lie on the edges of civilised realms, separating them from each other or from the wilderness, be it on land, in the sea or underground. It is often a lawless area where the strong rule and everyone knows how to fight for their lives. It is the home of exiles, frontier-folk, explorers and adventurers, that are often stubborn, hard and uncompromising. (See Dragon Magazine 229 Designing Demesnes for description.) -2 Law; -2 Society; -1 Economy; +2 Danger
11-30 Civilised Civilised realms typically refer to settlements or regions settled or claimed by intelligent and social races. This includes all villages, towns and cities, as well as duchies kingdoms and empires. (5E D&D Dungeon Master's Guide p15 - Settlements). +1 Law; +1 Society; +1 Economy; -1 Danger
31-40 Dungeon/Ruin This realm is a complex that was once civilised but has fallen into ruin or has been overtaken by new-comers. It may also be a settled cavern complex or underground dungeon carved for a specific purpose. Dungeons will mostly be detailed in the Realms Society Crime section. (5E D&D Dungeon Master's Guide p99). +1 Danger
41-55 Organisation/Guild This realm refers to a group of like-minded people that have come together to form an organisation. Includes: guilds, religious sects/churches, arcane orders, thieves guilds, mercenary companies, merchant houses, knight orders, etc. (4E D&D Dungeon Master's Guide 2 p161) +1 Society; (Nature of the Organisation should also provide a further +1 to the most relevant modifier. Eg’s: Thieves’ Guild +1 Crime; Church +1 Piety, etc)
56-60 Planar/Magical This is a realm that is magical or planar in nature and as such may not fit the other categories. It could be a fey forest, spirit-haunted wastes, an isle shrouded in mist, a completely elemental-warped region to another plane (or part of plane). (5E D&D Dungeon Master's Guide p43 - Planes; 5E D&D Mythic Odysseys of Theros ch 4 - magical temples/places of the gods inc Underworld); 3E D&D Dungeon Master's Guide p236 - Magical locations) +1 Arcane Attunement; (+1 Nature Connection if a Fey realm)
61-75 Tribe A group of people that share a common culture and way of life that are not highly civilised as far as technology and buildings go. +1 Society; +1 Nature Connection
76-95 Wilderness A region of forest, swamp, desert, mountains, open ocean, or unexplored natural caverns all fit this type. Intelligent races may exist, but the region is not civilised; there are no formal borders, nor roads linking settlements. -1 Law; -1 Arcane Attunement; - 2 Society; -1 Economy; +2 Nature Connection; +2 Danger
96-00 Other Unique realms that don’t fit other categories. Vessels, such as ships can be written up as a realm. Varies


Under size are some suggested names and populations for the specific types of realms determined above, but these are simply guidelines. If you have a Barbarian Horde (Tribe) of 2 million then go ahead and create that as a level 13 realm if you wish.

Level Size Approx’ Upper Population
1 Thorp / Small Local Organisation or Guild / Small Tribe / Average Vessel 80
2 Hamlet / Typical Tribe / Large Vessel 400
3 Village / Large Local Organisation / Large Tribe 900
4 Town, small / Small Regional Organisation 2,000
5 Town, large 5,000
6 City, small / Large regional Organisation 12,000
7 City, large / Tribal Confederation 25,000
8 Metropolis / Major Kingdom-Spanning Organisation 50,000
9 City-state, small 100,000
10 City-state, medium / Barony 200,000
11 City-state, large / County / Tribal Horde 500,000
12 Kingdom, small / Duchy, Major Empire-spanning Organisaton 1,000,000
13 Kingdom, medium / Principality 2,000,000
14 Kingdom, large 3,000,000
15 Kingdom, huge 4,000,000
16 Empire, small, Major World Spanning Organisation 5,000,000
17 Empire, medium 7,000,000
18 Empire, large, continental 10,000,000
19 Empire, spanning continents 15,000,000
20 Empire, spanning planes / Major Plane-Spanning Organisation 20,000,000+


This is a general indication of the power and influence of a realm. A low level realm is likely to be a small, localised area or group and a high level one could span a continent.


A general guideline, using the community names from 4E Dungeon Master's Guide (Wizards of the Coast) or Pathfinder Game Master Guide p205 for the first 8 levels. Realms of 11th level or higher are treated as having five divisions (four compass points and a central) for purposes of where troops and structures are placed. These larger realms must also choose which division holds their seat of government. This is where their leader(s) typically reside and is usually the central region.

Approximate Upper Population

The populations given for the communities are merely a guide to choose the level of a starting realm. They can be used as a guide when assigning levels to non-community realms too. So a small forest with a population of around 500 elves would be considered a level 3 realm (having a population equivalent to a village). Populations are not needed for any of these rules, however, and a GM is free to assign a level according to their own visions of the realm.

Idea Charts & References

Idea Resource
City districts House document attached under Files at bottom of the page City - Districts, Buildings & Businesses
Guild Types 3E D&D Dungeon Master's Guide 2 p224
Realm size AEG's Ultimate Toolbox p54
Boundary AEG's Ultimate Toolbox p54
Settlement size & Population AEG's Ultimate Toolbox p89


This provides the overall frame work for the realm. Most of the ideas below are for human cultures, but they can be applied to non-human ones too, such as Egyptian-like dwarves. This, combined with the actual type of realm, forms the framework. It may produce some interesting results, such as a high-magic North American Indian realm. That is the aim. Culture here is for the basic outlook of the people. It could also give the GM an idea of the appearance of the people.

D100 Culture Type/Number Resources
01-50 Standard: Use normal (Medieval Europe) for humans or standard racial culture for non-humans (as set out in the core books). 2E D&D The Crusades Campaign Sourcebook, D&D all Player's Handbooks.
51-90 Roll a specific culture on the table below. -
91-00 Roll 2 specific cultures on the table below and combine them. -

Once a general culture is determined you may also determine a specific culture as a model or may just use a melding of all the example cultures to create a general feel for the realm.

(Adapted and added to from 2E D&D World Builder’s Guidebook, p43. Most of the resources below are listed because I have them. Many more can be found, such as at this link: products by culture. This site is also for finding which particular parts of campaign settings and some listed adventures that correspond to the different Earth cultures).

D100 Culture Specific Ideas / Examples RPG Resources
01-06 African Middle Age ivory kingdoms, ancient Ethiopia, ancient Egypt, ancient Zimbabwe, Mali Empire, Tuareg nomads, Kongo jungles/pygmies, Ghana empire, Songhai empire, Benin empire, Kanem-Bornu empire, Kalahari bushmen, Kingdom of Kush Standard D&D settings (various source books): D&D Forgotten Realms (Chult); 3E D&D Atlas Games Nyambe: African Adventures; 3E D&D Kobold Press Southlands Campaign Setting; 3E D&D Necromancer Games Necropolis (Khemit); Rolemaster Mythic Egypt, 3E D&D Avalanche Press Nile War; Shadow World Kingdom of the Desert Jewel; Dragon Magazines #27, #122, #189, #200,
07-11 Alternate Race The people have adopted the culture of another fantasy race. (Roll a random race from the ‘Races & Populations’ charts) -
12-18 Ancient Egyptian, Sumerian, Babylonian, Greek (inc Minoan, Ionian), Holy Land, Ur. Standard D&D settings (various source books): Forgotten Realms (Unther), Dark Sun; 2E D&D Age of Heroes Campaign Sourcebook; 2E D&D Return to the Keep on the Borderlands
19-22 Arabian/Persian Arabia, Persia Standard D&D settings (various sourcebooks): Zakhara, Forgotten Realms (Zakhara, Calimshan)
23 -24 Central Asian Mongols, Tartars, Uighurs 2E D&D The Horde
25-32 Dark Age European Germanic Tribes, Celts, Vikings, Arthurian, Picts, Eastern European 2E D&D Celts Campaign Sourcebook; 2E D&D Vikings Campaign Sourcebook; 2E D&D Charlamagne's Paladins Campaign Sourcebook; Slaine RPG
33-42 Fantastical/Magical Magical (egs: arcane, divine, primal, psionic), Planar (an actual planar realm, or one that has leaked into setting), Creature-focussed (egs: Dinotopia, 2E D&D Council of Wyrms), Low/no magic, Technology Standard D&D settings (various source books): Dark Sun, Eberron, Jarkandor, Planescape; Cypher System Gods of the Fall; Savage Worlds Sundered Skies
43-60 Standard Campaign Setting (Then determine specific realm from the setting - most of these have many specific sources). Standard D&D settings (various sourcebooks): Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance; Monte Cook's Arcana Unearthed Diamond Throne; Savage Worlds Hellfrost; Song of Ice & Fire RPG Westeros; FASA Earthdawn; Kobold Press Midgard; Bard Games Talisanta; Pathfinder Golarion, Kingdoms of Kalamar; 13th AGE Dragon Empire; Dragon Age RPG setting; Tal' Dorei; Wildemount
61-65 Indian Medieval India 3E D&D Mahasarpa; D&D Dragon Magazines #189, #225, #226, #227, #229;
66-71 North American First People Arctic (eg Inuits), Subartic (egs Cree, Chipewyan), Northeast (egs Algonquians, Iroquois), Southeast (egs Shawnee, Cherokee), Plains & Prairies (egs Sioux, Cheyenne), Great Basin (egs Ute, Shoshoni), Northwest coast (egs Chinook, Tlingit), California (egs Hupa, Pomo), Southwest (egs Puelblo, Apache) Dragon Magazine #205; 2E D&D Mystara Atruaghin Clans Gazetteer
72-81 Oriental/East Asian Korea, Feudal Japan, Ancient China, Wuxia, Southeast Asia Standard D&D settings (various source books): Kara-Tur, Rokugan; 1E & 3E D&D Oriental Adventures; 3E D&D Avalanche Press Jade & Steel; Savage Worlds (Deadlands)
82-88 Renaissance Europe France, Elizabethan England, Italy, Spain, Germany, Gunpowder age, Sea-faring, Mercantile Standard D&D settings (various source books): Red Steel; 2E D&D A Mighty Fortress Campaign Sourcebook; The 7th Sea RPG; Savage Worlds Pirates of the Spanish Main; Savage Worlds of Soloman Kane
89-94 Roman/Classical Europe Republic, Empire, Fall, Expansion, Byzantine 2E D&D The Glory of Rome Campaign Sourcebook; Savage Worlds Weird Wars Rome
95-98 South & Central American First People Andean, Incas, Aztecs, Mayans, Toltecs, Amazonian Standard D&D settings (various sourcebooks): Maztica.
99-00 Tribal/Stone Age Australian Aboriginal, Neanderthal, Early/Ancient America, Islanders (egs Maori, Tahitians) Standard D&D settings (various source books): Dark Sun


In the past, I had a whole system of 'playing realms' and I liked it, but I simplified everything to just be a way for GMs to generate realms. But I still wanted all this to have an effect on the game. So, I developed a simple set of statistics for realms. Throughout this process, you will come across modifiers for these statistics. Keep a running total as you go.

CNote: I have two books on order that doe 'realm management' as part of their selling points, so I might just adopt one of those when I get the books. In any case, you don't have to worry about these statistics at all. Again, I just wanted all of this to actually affect the game; not just be background dressing.

Realm Stat Description Game Mechanics Effects
Arcane Attunement This simply indicates the level of access to arcane people, places, spells, components and items. The higher the value, the easier it is to locate such people and items. It is also a measure of how savvy the population is regarding magical knowledge and how willing they are to share that knowledge with outsiders. (A low score might not indicate the absence of magic, but a close-lipped society that has no intention of sharing its knowledge or even keep their magical knowledge secret). The Arcane Attunement modifier is applied to Investigation/Streetwise and Arcana rolls when seeking arcane lore in the area. It could also be used to influence the chances of arcane items or spell casters being available. (Simply use this when anything Arcane is being sought out or determined).
Corruption Corruption is a general measure of how open the realm’s leaders and officials are to bribes and general skulduggery and is also a measure of the honesty and vigilance of the local populace. A high Corruption score would mean that people would be less likely to report crimes and the authorities would be less likely to care anyway. The Corruption modifier is applied to Deception checks against city officials/guards and can be applied to things like Stealth and Sleight of Hand rolls made outside among the populace. (Basically modifies the PCs deceptive interactions with the law and locals).
Crime This generally measures the level of lawlessness within the realm and can be used as a rating of how violent the crime might be. A high score could indicate the presence of criminal gangs with no regard for the law and who use violent methods. A low score generally indicates visitors are safe among the locals. (Note this is a measure of how readily the local inhabitants take to crime – it is not a measure of how creatures outside the main society contribute to acts of violence – this is the Danger modifier). Applied to Investigation/Streetwise checks to find underground contacts or black market items. Could apply to Intimidation checks if people believe the PC is part of a crime organisation. (Basically modifies the PCs thuggish interactions people and their ability to locate contraband).
Danger This simply indicates how dangerous it is to wander around the realm. Use this modifier as a guide to how often encounters may occur and how dangerous encounters tend to be. If higher, check more often. (Alternatively just use it to increase the chance of an encounter). Use higher level encounters for a realm with a positive modifier. Roughly each +/- equates to increasing the average CR of a realm (but include steps 1/8, 1/4 and 1/2 CR before getting to 1 CR).
Economy This simply indicates how successful the realm is regarding generating trade. It is not just having resources, but the capabilities and willingness to trade them. It can also be a measure for the general wealth of a realm, especially concerning the better-off individuals, such as merchants and nobles. The Economy modifier is applied to any check (mostly through downtime activities) made to generate an honest income. It can also influence the likelihood of items being available. (Basically modifies the PCs monetary interactions with the locals).
Historical Lore This is simply a measure of how knowledgeable a realm is of its past and how willing the inhabitants are to share that knowledge. A high modifier might indicate the presence of a university, library or temple where records are kept, access to learned sages or historians, or even a culture with a strong oral tradition. A realm with a low modifier most likely represents inhabitants that care little about the past or even ashamed of it and are tight-lipped about sharing what they know. Applied to Investigation/Streetwise and History rolls when seeking local and historical lore in the area. It could also be used to influence the chances of libraries or individual sages being available. (Simply use this when anything historical is being sought out).
Law This represents the ‘presence’ of the law in the realm in the form of peacekeepers/guards or even a measure of the amount of rules and/or how strict the laws are. A low score does not necessarily indicate that there is a lot of crime or anarchy (see the Crime modifier for that), but simply may indicate a realm with no need for a strong presence of the ‘law’. The Law modifier is applied to Persuasion/Diplomacy checks with or to call in the local peace-keepers. (Basically modifies the PCs interactions with the law and indicates how much ‘presence’ the law has).
Nature Connection This is a general measure of how in tune the inhabitants are with nature. This could also include access to primal magic (items and casters), places and people. A high score could indicate inhabitants that are fully adapted to their environment, a society that knows how to manage the land, or one fully in tune with the locals spirits. A low score would indicate inhabitants that know very little of the ‘way of the land’ or are unwilling to share any knowledge they do have, or even just a very urban setting. The Nature Connection modifier is applied to Nature rolls when seeking natural or primal lore in the area. Used for Nature/Survival roles when helped by locals, or even checks to see how successful the inhabitants live of the land or manage their agriculture. Could also be used to influence the chances of primal items or spell casters being available. (Simply use this when anything nature-related or Primal is being sought out or determined).
Piety This simply indicates the level of access to divine casters, places, spells (including healing), components and items. The higher the value, the easier it is to locate such people and items. A high modifier would indicate a religious realm with pious inhabitants and open, sacred sites such as churches or shrines. At the lower end, the people care less for the deities of the world, and a negative score could even indicate a fear or hatred of the deities. The Piety modifier is applied to Investigation/Streetwise and Religion rolls when seeking religious lore in the area. It could also be used to influence the chances of divine items or spell casters being available. (Simply use this when anything Religious/Divine is being sought out or determined).
Society This could be used to indicate how ‘civilised’ a realm is, but most importantly it is a measure of how open-minded and accepting of outsiders the inhabitants are. A high score would indicate an accepting society that welcomes visitors and might even encourage a system where locals become patrons for important visitors. A low score could indicate prejudice, distrust or even outright hatred of outsiders with a negative score. The Society modifier is applied to Persuasion and Perform rolls made to improve attitudes. (Basically modifies the PCs open interactions with the locals).


Like a character’s personality, this section is for any other traits that help to define the realm. Like Realm Type, it would be best to go through and select any obvious Traits for the realm you have in mind first and then roll any remaining.

Realms typically have 1-3 Traits +1 per four levels.

(Obviously, if these Traits do not gel with other factors determined ignore them).

D100 Trait & Description Game Mechanics Alternative / Opposite Game Mechanics
01-03 ABUNDANT Due to copious amounts of natural resources, verdant fields, magical discoveries, or technological advances this realm has a very high ability to generate and create resources and exceptional products. The crops are plentiful, the groves many, the livestock fat, the stores full and well equipped. Other realms are likely lining up to do trade with this nation, or secretly plan its down fall. (See Dragon Magazine 229 Designing Demesnes for description.) +1 Society; +3 Economy. (Possibly +2 Arcane Attunement if this is due to magical discoveries) DESOLATE / LACK OF RESOURCES This area is next to inhospitable, but some hardy folk eke a living out of the barren wastelands. It is completely lacking in resources or what is there is hard to access or not being used efficiently. Once the area may have been thriving woodland, or a great realm in its own right, but now that woodland is petrified or a plain of ash, and the realm a vast expanse dotted with ruins. Surrounding realms may send in expeditions to plunder the ruins that are left. A natural disaster, a massive war or magical calamity could have turned the land to ruin. (See Dragon Magazine 229 Designing Demesnes for description.) -3 Law; -2 Society; -3 Economy
04-05 ANCIENT This realm has been around a long time, perhaps even thousands of years. Typically the realm has passed its golden age and its domination over surrounding realms ended generations ago. Feats of the past are history or even myth and the current residents are often resigned to the fact the realm will never be as grand again; though every few generations a confident leader attempts to return to the days of old. Undoubtedly these forays end in failure. (See Dragon Magazine 229 Designing Demesnes for description.) +2 Historical Lore YOUNG This realm has just recently been established and is likely still in the building phase. -1 Historical Lore
06-07 ANIMAL/CREATURE CONNECTION The realm places great importance in a particular animal/creature or in animals in general. They may be: sacred, revered companions, exceptionally trained guards/steeds, totems, etc. +1 Nature Connection ANIMAL/CREATURE AVERSION The realm values the hunting of particular creatures and/or they are considered enemies. -1 Nature Connection
08-10 ARCANE CONNECTION This realm places great value in knowledge and the power of arcane magic. It is far advanced over the surrounding realms in the arcane arts. If this isn’t an organisation itself, there are several colleges or cabals where any citizen can learn their spells and one may be expected to do so. Magic permeates all facets of life in such a realm and the residents are rarely surprised by its use. This could be a land of high magic where streets are lit by spells and people often contact each other and travel using magic. The citizens place little importance on the physical body and look down upon those too willing to use brawn to solve a situation. Soldiers can always be hired if needed. (See Dragon Magazine 229 Designing Demesnes - Mystical Realm for description.) +3 Arcane Attunement; -1 Nature Connection ARCANE AVERSION This is an anti-magic realm. For whatever reason the people dislike (or possibly fear) arcane magic. It may be forbidden by law, a sin to use, or simply seen as weak. There are fewer arcane casters in such as realm. -2 Arcane Attunement
11-12 BLESSED The realm is the land/organisation of a patron deity/spirit (determined randomly from the religion worshipped). (See Dragon Magazine 229 Designing Demesnes for description.) +1 Piety (and a possible further +1 to another modifier depending upon the deity involved. Eg: a deity of trade +1 Economy) CURSED The realm is the chosen target of a deity that seeks to destroy the realm. (See Dragon Magazine 229 Designing Demesnes for description.) -1 Piety (and a further -1 to another modifier depending upon the deity involved and the nature of the curse. Could roll a random modifier)
13-16 CHIVALRIC This is realm that values honour, valour and justice, and fighting a hostile world to bring peace to all people. Laws and codes govern how conflict should take place. Sometimes all neighbours do not agree with the actions of the nobles and knights of this realm, but the realm does not waver from its objective. (See Dragon Magazine 229 Designing Demesnes for description.) +2 Law; -2 Corruption; -2 Crime; -1 Danger; +1 Historical Lore BARBARIC This realm is made up of people that, although they may share a common heritage, tend to make war with one another. Raiding and pillaging is normal behaviour and there are few ‘rules of conflict’ other than ‘be better than your enemy’. From time to time a great leader may unite several groups to form a horde and raid into wealthier realms. (See Dragon Magazine 229 Designing Demesnes for description.) 2 Law; -2 Arcane Attunement; +2 Danger
17-18 COLOUR AFFINITY The people of the realm prefer to dress in a particular colour or colours. They have a connection with that colour for whatever reason. - COLOUR AVERSION The people may disdain a certain colour, or a particular colour may signify something important such as clans, social status, profession, making it illegal for others to wear it. -
19-20 COMPETITIVE The people aim to be the best at everything and are fiercely competitive. Even the smallest of tasks may be a test of who can do it better. There are likely all sorts of tournaments and competitions to test oneself against others. - RELAXED The people of this realm are never in a rush and are happy with simple things in life. OK is good enough. +1 Society
21-23 DECADENT The realm is known as a home for vice and corruption. It is likely a realm that was once great and clinging to is past glories. (See Dragon Magazine 229 Designing Demesnes for description.) +3 Corruption; -2 Society; +2 Crime; +1 Danger GOLDEN AGE For a whole variety of reasons the realm is at its peak. An organisation may have major influence, a kingdom is at its height or a tribe may have risen above the others in a recent epic war. +1 Society; +2 Economy; -2 Crime
24-27 DIPLOMATIC The leaders of this realm avoid conflict at all costs. Its nobles, leaders or ruling government spend much of their time at court or in meetings openly discussing ways to please their neighbours (and in good realms, their citizens). Rarely do such realms invest heavily in magical or military defences. If conflict is unavoidable they would prefer to pay professionals to ‘take care of things without leaving a mess’. -1 Law; +1 Society; -1 Danger MACHIAVELLIEN This is a realm where things are done with subterfuge. It could be a despicable realm of thieves and cutthroats or a free-sharing community where possessions are seen as communal. It could represent a realm where the people have had to resort to guerrilla tactics to fight their enemies, but most likely it is a civilised realm where one strikes at their enemies from the shadows and gains resources through shady deals. Smuggling is rife and the realm boasts many spies in neighbouring realms. Your average citizen or member tends to be secretive and highly suspicious of others. -1 Society; +3 Crime; -1 Nature Connection; +1 Danger
28-29 DISTINCT ITEMS OR DRESS People of the realm are easily identified by their national dress or uniform fashion. (AEG Ultimate Toolbox: National Dress & Fashion: p67). Or it may be the items they carry or wear, or even by the items that they craft. (Ideas: AEG Ultimate Toolbox: National Weapon: p67) - RESTRICTED ITEMS OR DRESS Certain items may be forbidden or may only be carried by certain individuals (such as a samurai’s daisho). Alternatively, fashion is quite strange or there is a complete lack of fashion. -
30-33 DIVINE CONNECTION / RELIGIOUS Most likely a theocracy, but this is not necessary, the people of this land hold faith as their greatest virtue. There may be a state religion, the land may be the chosen of one particular deity, or there may be an unusual high number of divine casters (or even beings) present. This could also be a church or any number of cults, sects or monasteries. (See Dragon Magazine 229 Designing Demesnes for description.) +3 Piety DIVINE AVERSION This is a realm where the gods do not play a significant role. Perhaps they are no longer worshipped, or even reviled. Maybe the people simply don’t believe in deities or perhaps they just hate the deities for turning against the people. -2 Piety
34-35 ELEMENT CONNECTION The people place great reverence in a particular element. Perhaps they even worship or rely upon beings of that element. - ELEMENT AVERSION The people fear or loathe a particular element. -
36-38 EXPANDING These realms typically have an inspiring leader backed by a large army. Its intentions are clear: it plans to colonise and conquer for pride, the belief it is bringing a better life to conquered people, a lack of resources or land, it feels threatened by its neighbours, etc. Generally the people are confident and display a great deal of self-importance - maybe even arrogance. (See Dragon Magazine 229 Designing Demesnes for description.) +2 Law; +1 Economy RECEDING The realm has undergone setback after setback, which may have included recent defeats against other realms. The people are likely to be on edge and defensive. (See Dragon Magazine 229 Designing Demesnes - Nation Under Siege for description.) -2 Society; -2 Economy
39-41 GOOD REPUTATION The realm’s leaders are widely known for keeping their word and coming through in all deals. (See Dragon Magazine 229 Designing Demesnes for description.) -2 Corruption; +1 Economy BAD REPUTATION The realm’s leaders are widely known for breaking their word and only keeping deals if it suits itself. +2 Corruption; -1 Economy
42-43 INSULAR The people are untrustworthy of outsiders or of members of a particular race or realm. These people would not look upon adventurers highly. +1 Law; -1 Society GREGARIOUS Social people that value visitors. One might even gain prestige by playing host to visitors from distant realms. -1 Law; +1 Society
44-48 MARTIAL CONNECTION / MILITARISTIC The army runs this realm or is the main arm of the government. All citizens are expected to learn the art of warfare and few other pursuits are seen as important. Their skill in the martial arts is second to none and their arms and armour are of the highest quality. This could be an evil kingdom set on building trained masses for conquest, a good realm that values defense, a tribe that relies on martial prowess or a mercenary band that are renowned and hired throughout the lands. +2 Law; -1 Arcane Attunement; -2 Crime MARTIAL AVERSION Few people in the realm take up arms. Perhaps there is no need to, or perhaps they are not allowed. In any case warriors are rare throughout the realm. -
49-52 MERCANTILE This realm relies heavily upon trade. In fact, many other realms often rely upon this realm for their trade too, and this is enough to keep them from making war with this realm. A merchant power need not be large in area, but is usually large in influence. The people of the realm are business savvy and value wealth. (See Dragon Magazine 229 Designing Demesnes for description.) +1 Corruption; +3 Economy NOT WEALTH-FOCUSSED Personal wealth is of no importance, or wealth is to be enjoyed in private only, or they may have no understanding of ownership and items found are simply used. The realm may depend upon barter rather than hard currency. -1 Corruption
53-54 MERRY / FESTIVE The people seem upbeat and hold many fun festivals. +1 Society DOUR / DREARY The people rarely celebrate and everything is a chore for them. -1 Society
55-56 NATIONAL STRENGTH The realm is united under a common cause. (Ideas: AEG Ultimate Toolbox National Strength p54 or National Renown p66). Possible -1/+1 to relevant modifier NATIONAL WEAKNESS (Ideas: AEG Ultimate Toolbox National Weakness p54). Possible -1/+1 to relevant modifier
57-59 ON THE RISE This realm may have seen hard times in the past and survived, or it may be a recently established realm enjoying newfound prosperity. Reasons for this fortune could be: inspirational leaders, abundant resources (or recently discovered new resources, like a gold rush), may simply be a realm where its members/citizens are respected. If it has been around for some time, maybe nearby enemies have been beaten or moved on and now trade has opened up. The realm is a place where hope carries a lot of weight. +1 Law; +1 Society; -1 Crime; +1 Economy UNDER SIEGE This is a realm with enemies on all fronts. The people hold on and fight with steely determination, using any means necessary to keep invaders from their lands or headquarters. They may or may not being winning that fight. Most people of the realm learn to fight from a young age and there is little time for esoteric pursuits, including worship. The people may be grim and suspicious of strangers, believing they have no allies in the world. (See Dragon Magazine 229 Designing Demesnes for description.) +2 Law; -1 Corruption; -1 Arcane Attunment; -1 Piety; -1 Society; -1 Economy; -1 Nature Connection
60-62 PRIMAL CONNECTION / SPIRITUAL The realm and its inhabitants most likely practice Animism or at least recognise that there are spirits the need to be appeased. Perhaps the spirits themselves are more active. In either case there is a higher number of primal casters. +3 Nature Connection PRIMAL AVERSION The people of this realm are likely to pay no head to the spirits or the lands they look over. Perhaps they see them as meddling troublemakers or even enemies. Maybe they don’t even believe in the spirits or see them as enemies to the beings they do worship. -2 Nature Connection
63-65 PRIMITIVE / SAVAGE A savage realm is technologically behind. They may use stone, wood and bone tools and weapons, where worked steel or even iron is unknown or extremely rare. Residents typically live a very tribal and clannish life, close to the land and animals in which they live. Farming is even unlikely and buildings are crude structures. (Ideas: Pathfinder Game Mastery Guide p150 details the characteristics of a ‘Primitive Society’; 2E D&D World Builder’s Guidebook Technological Level p47. See Dragon Magazine 229 Designing Demesnes for description.) -1 Law; -2 Arcane Attunment; -2 Society; -2 Crime; -2 Economy; +2 Nature Connection; +2 Danger TECHNOLOGICALLY ADVANCED The people of this realm have access to inventions and materials more advanced than others for this type of realm or compared to those around them. (Ideas: 2E D&D World Builder’s Guidebook Technological Level p47). +1 Law; +1 Economy; -1 Nature Connection
66-67 PROSPEROUS This realm has abundant wealth tied up in coffers, investments and in the hands of the rich and wealthy. It is likely to be a hub for trade with an ideal location. (See Dragon Magazine 229 Designing Demesnes for description.) +2 Economy DESTITUTE This realm’s leaders have flitted away the realm’s money. Coffers are almost empty and the realm is operating well above its means. (See Dragon Magazine 229 Designing Demesnes - Impoverished for description.) -3 Economy
68-69 PSIONIC CONNECTION The realm values and teaches the power of the mind or may simply have an abundance of wild talents or races with latent psionic power. In such a realm the power of the mind would be greatly valued, as would protecting one’s own thoughts. +3 Arcane Attunement SHADOW CONNECTION The realm has an odd affinity to a plane of shadow. It could be a physical link or it might be the people themselves. Casters with access to shadow magic are more common here. +2 Arcane Attunement
70-71 RECLUSIVE More than other members of their race, these people like to hide away from the world, be that travellers, other races or other realms. -1 Society OPEN These people may have adopted customs of other races or other realms and feel at ease among other people. +1 Society
72-73 REFINED More than other members of their race, people of this realm tend to have good manners and rarely let their emotions get the better of them. - UNREFINED People could be boorish or barbaric; they may simply be passionate and emotional people. -
74-75 RITUALISTIC / ARTISTIC Give the realm specific rituals that must be followed. Times when rituals may be important may include: meals, greeting someone, when making major decisions, before setting out on a journey. A particular form of art may be important to the lives of the people. Eg: Ritual dances may be held for young people to meet. Arts: visual, music, acting, etc. +1 Society PRAGMATIC Ignorant of such small matters. Always speak their mind and focus on the ‘here’ and ‘now’. The population is likely stuck in the daily grind and does not have time for such dalliances. -1 Society
76-77 RULES The people have a highly codified set of rules and are generally well aware of them and follow them to the letter. Breaking even the most basic of rules requires swift punishment. +1 Law NO RULES OR ODD RULES The people may value anarchy, but a more interesting alternative is for a system of rules that may make no sense to a visitor, such as not being able to wear red on a certain day. -1 OR +1 Law
78-81 RURAL This is a peaceful, prosperous, pastoral realm. With few enemies, the citizens have time to advance their professions and crafts. Generally, the people live in safety, but still work hard at what they do. Religion is likely important as the gods/spirits are thanked for their generosity. Life is simple and there is little need for heavy armor or fireballs. (Ideas: Pathfinder Game Mastery Guide p150 details the characteristics of a ‘Rural/Agrarian Society’; Dragon Magazine 229 Designing Demesnes - Pastoral Homeland for description.) +1 Society; -3 Crime; +1 Nature Connection; -1 Danger NOMADIC The people are often/always on the move. They have not found lands that allow for an easy, settled life, or their nature of work prevents them remaining in one place too long (such as a mercenary band or merchant caravan). -
82-83 SIGNIFICANT LANDMARK The realm has a non-religious attraction that inspires admiration and awe and draws visitors from far off lands. It may be a massive monument, lavish structure, or even a wonder of the world. (See Dragon Magazine 229 Designing Demesnes - Wonder of the World for description.) +1 Economy; +1 Historical Lore HOLY SITE The realm is or has a sacred site of significance to the religion worshipped (or possibly one of a nearby realm, drawing pilgrims from afar). Egs: Shrine, temple, where deity appeared, statue, unique place or structure. +1 Piety
84-85 SKILL OR FEAT EMPHASIS The realm places high importance on a particular skill/feat/talent (depending upon the game system being used). Egs: If that skill was Gather Information, then information brokering is a very important business and ability. If the feat was Point Blank Shot, then archery would be a valued skill. Possibly +1 to relevant modifier SKILL OR FEAT DEFICIENCY The realm neglects and places little importance in a particular skill or skill group and occupations are restricted to certain members of society. They may disdain particular feat abilities and techniques. Possible -1/+1 to relevant modifier
86-88 SOCIAL STRUCTURE The realm has a very well defined social structure where one is a member of a particular social ranking. This could be based upon wealth, hereditary, race, gender, or even luck. -1 Society NO SOCIAL STRUCTURE All citizens are treated equally or the people share common social traits. (Ideas: AEG Ultimate Toolbox Social Traits p66). +1 Society
89-90 STRATEGIC LOCATION Realm is in an important place between or with access to other realms of note. (See Dragon Magazine 229 Designing Demesnes for description.) +1 Economy CENTRE OF LEARNING Has or is an academic institution of renown. Egs: library, university or school. +1 Historical Lore (and possible +1 to either Law, Arcane Attunement, Piety, Society, Economy, or Nature Connection)
91-92 SUPERIORITY COMPLEX The people believe they are the best at everything. -1 Society INFERIORITY COMPLEX The people constantly put their own efforts down. Perhaps they are a conquered people. (See Dragon Magazine 229 Designing Demesnes 'Conquered Nation' for description.) -
93-94 TRANSPORTATION The realm is renowned for a particular type of transportation. This may be because it is odd, they have lots of it, or it is unique to the realm. (Ideas: AEG Ultimate Toolbox Transportation p55). - TRANSPORTATION AVERSION Perhaps the people are reluctant or outright afraid to travel by a certain means. Maybe horses are bad luck, the waters are guarded by an evil sea goddess, or there is just a cultural stigma in using transport (like the elves of Athas).
95-96 UNIQUE ARCHITECTURE Give the realm a distinct appearance in the places that are visited. This may also have an influence on the character of the place. - BORROWED ARCHITECTURE The people occupy other races' constructions or even ruins from another age. -
97-98 UNIQUE MAGICAL ABILITIES People of this realm have mystical powers that set them apart. (Ideas: D&D Forgotten Realms Spell Scars; D&D Eberron Dragon Marks; D&D Red Steel Setting random magical ability). +1 Arcane Attunement UNIQUE MAGICAL ABILITIES FOR LOCAL CREATURES In this realm, the creatures have the spell-like powers and the people have to deal with them. +1 Arcane Attunement
99-00 WORK- ORIENTED Like dwarves, the people of this realm devote their lives to a chosen field, be it crafting, the arts, or swordplay. Generally the people are highly specialised and strongly committed. This could be a random skill or tool set proficiency. +1 Economy CAREFREE People are unlikely to specialise. They tend to learn a bit of everything and do not like being pinned down. Quite possibly curious. -

Other Traits or Customs Ideas

Idea Resource
Customs & Legacies Sly Flourish The Lazy DM's Companion p44


Describe the location in relation to other realms of its size and/or its position within a larger realm.

Idea Resource
Settlement Locations Sly Flourish The Lazy DM's Companion p37


Look at the latest events (determined later in the ‘History & Events’ section of Realm Creation). If a particularly noteworthy situation occurred recently it may still be in effect. For example, the realm could be at war.

Idea Charts & References

Idea Resource
Calamities AEG's Ultimate Toolbox p55
Situation 2E D&D World Builder’s Guidebook p50
State of the Nation AEG's Ultimate Toolbox p54
World Hook 2E D&D World Builder’s Guidebook p8
World Core Assumptions & Hooks 5E D&D Dungeon Master's Guide p9


If you have a relevant picture - place that alongside the 'At A Glance' section.

Write a ‘read aloud’ description that you might read when the PCs first see the realm. (Some terrain descriptions are found under Terrain on the ‘The Land’ section).

Idea Charts & References

Idea Resource
City Descriptions AEG Ultimate Toolbox First Impressions p81; Location p83; Descriptions p86-88; Architecture p102; Neighbourhood Features p103; Districts & Quarters p102; Sights p105; Sounds p106; Smells p106.
City maps Medieval Fantasy Map Generator
Realm art Magic the Gathering Art
Settlement - Known For… 5E D&D Dungeon Master's Guide p112
Settlement Traits 5E D&D Dungeon Master's Guide p112
Undersea Communities AEG Ultimate Toolbox p190.

Examples & Samples

Name Type (Level) Known Traits/Features Resource
Clovis Concord Civilised - City State Confederation (12-13) Mercantile, maritime 5E D&D Explorer's Guide to Wildemount p43
Diarchy of Uthodurn Civilised - City-State (11) Union of dwarf & elf cultures 5E D&D Explorer's Guide to Wildemount p48
Dwendalian Empire Civilised - Empire (16-17) Militaristic 5E D&D Explorer's Guide to Wildemount p35
Fallcrest Civilised - Small river town (4) Rural and isolated 4E D&D Dungeon Master's Guide p199
Kryn Dynasty Civilised - Kingdom (12-14) Religious, humanoid, drow, ruins 5E D&D Explorer's Guide to Wildemount p39
Nentir Vale Borderlands (9-11) Rural and isolated 4E D&D Dungeon Master's Guide p206
Northspire Civilised - City (6) Patriarchy - guilds AEG's Ultimate Toolbox p171
Oduloubi Heights Borderlands (9-12) Elf realm AEG's Ultimate Toolbox p79
Saltmarsh Civilised - Port town (5) Very detailed port town 3E D&D Dungeon Master's Guide 2 p119
Scars of Scale & Tooth Tribe/Civilised (7-8) Dragonborn, factions after war/collapse of kingdom 5E D&D Explorer's Guide to Wildemount p53
Sigil Planar/Civilised - City (8) City of planar portals on interior surface of giant ring 4E D&D Dungeon Master's Guide 2 p186
Victory Channels Civilised - Port city (5-6) Trouble between king's troops & druids AEG's Ultimate Toolbox p200
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