Primed and Ready
Once many moons ago, in a campaign I was running the players found a cubic gate. Now this curious little device has 6 sides and each side is a gate to another plane, with the stipulation one of those sides will be the prime material plane. I made myself a little chart and rolled to determine the other five planes that would be connected by the gate. I included “a prime material plane” as an option on my chart and gave it a fairly decent percent chance since there are an infinite number of worlds in the prime plane.
As it turned out two of the cubes five remaining faces opened to “the prime plane” (the other three were the Abyss, Limbo, and Elelmental Water in case you were curious) and I was now stuck on what that meant world wise. I had acquired the Greyhawk box set sometime before, so it was easy enough assigning one of the two remaining prime plane worlds as Oerth, but what to do with the other? I ended up simply making up a world on the fly when the characters finally used that side of the cube.
I was recently thinking about this little scenario and it crossed my mind “We should have some charts to quickly generate basic information for a new prime plain.” Now as far as I am aware no such charts exist in 1st edition AD&D, so doing what I always do I set about to create my own.
This is in no way a resource to create all of the details needed to have a fully functioning campaign world, however it should give you a general outline of where to start the process.
Number 1 – How many races
The first thing I want to look at is the number of races represented in mass in the world. Now this is not to say that pockets of other races will not exist. This is meant to give you a number of races that have enough power and/or size to have an impact within the setting.
For instance you may roll as only having two major races (let’s say they end up as human and elf) that doesn’t mean dwarfs don’t exist, only that they do not have enough influence to shape major events.
Use table PM1 below to determine the number of races that play a part in the world.
PM1: Number of Races
|Dice Roll (d100)||Number of Races|
Number 2 – What is the dominant race.
Now that we know how many major races we will have, let’s determine which race is the dominant force in the world. Using chart PM2 below to determine this, you can see it is heavily weighted towards human and humanoid. This is simply because it is the nature of these races to reproduce and actively work to expand at a high rate. Also note that both humanoids and monsters have a sub table (PM2-1 and PM2-2) to find a specific entry.
PM2: Dominate Race Table
|Dice Roll (d100)||Race|
* Roll on the humanoid sub chart PM2-1
** Roll on the monster sub chart PM2-2
PM2-1: Humanoid Sub Chart
|Dice Roll (d100)||Humanoid Race|
PM2-2: Monster Sub Chart
|Dice Roll (d100)||Race|
* These creatures are not native to the plane, but have somehow found entrance to the world and have taken it over.
** This should be a mixture of undead with the weaker types being commanded by powerful vampires or liches.
Number 3 – The rest of the races
Now we know how many major races should be represented, and we have decided one of them (our dominate race) let’s see who the other major players are. Use table PM3 to determine the rest of the races for our world. If you roll a race more than once simply reroll, unless it is humanoids where we will again use table PM2-1 to determine specific humanoid race.
PM3: Secondary Races
|Dice Roll (d100)||Race*|
* If a race is repeated then continue to roll until a new race is selected, each humanoid race should be considered separate so a result of humanoid can be repeated as long as the sub chart race is different.
** Roll on the humanoid sub chart PM2-1
Number 4 – Historical age
Chart PM4 is to help use determine what historical age the world is at, as exampled by our actual history. If a monster type is the dominate race just avoid this table as most likely all other races are simply slaves.
PM4: Historical Age
|Dice Roll (d100)||Age*|
|56-80||Early Middle Ages (Dark Ages)|
|81-95||High Middle Ages (Feudalism)|
|96-100||Late Middle Ages (Renaissance)**|
* This table should not be used if monster is the primary race.
** Late middle ages should not be used if humanoids are the primary race.
Number 5 – Current warfare
War is a part of all worlds but we should determine if there is currently a major war going on. A major war isn’t a skirmish between two cities which is likely to always be happening, but rather a major offensive that involves a large portion of the world. Alexander the Great’s conquests, or the Persian wars, or the war of the lance in Dragonlance are examples of this.
There should be a simple 40% chance that such an event is underway
Number 5 – Who is at war.
If there is a major war going on let’s determine whose fighting using table PM5 below. We will see if it is a war among our dominant race, or is it a war between our dominant race and one of the secondary races (determine randomly), or between two of the secondary races (determine randomly). Obviously if the world only has 2 races the war will be between either dominant vs. dominant or dominant vs. the secondary.
PM5: Who is at War
|Dice Roll (d100)||War|
|01-50||Dominate Race vs. Dominant Race|
|51-90||Dominate race vs. Secondary Race|
|91-100||Secondary Race vs. Secondary Race|
Now just for fun let’s test our charts out.
Number of races: 4
Dominate race: Elf
Secondary race: Human
Secondary race: Humanoid – Roll: 89 – Humanoid race: Bugbear
Secondary race: Humanoid – Roll: 03 – Humanoid race: Orc
Historical Age: Early Middle Ages
Major War: Yes
War Between: Dominant race and Dominant race
We have a world dominated by elves where the other major races are humans, orcs, and bugbears. The general setting is akin to the early middle ages and at this time Elves are at war with each other (perhaps two separate elven kingdoms maybe even two races of elves such as high elf vs. gray elves if you use separate elven races)
This should give you a good jumping off point to develop a new prime plane world quickly. I hope it comes as some use in your game.
The Looking Glass
This week I am going to include a staple in all my modules, Harold’s Healing Potion. This sweet tasting elixir is a cure light wounds in a vile.
Harold’s Healing Potion: XP: 100 GP: 300
This is a single use potion which cures 1d8 points of damage.