How to create a kingdom or country in your DnD Campaign

How to create a country / kingdom in Dungeons and Dragons

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When creating a country for your RPG campaign, there are many things to consider. What kind of geographical features will it have? Will it be a kingdom or a republic? What kind of government will it have? These are just a few of the questions you need to ask yourself in order to create a believable and well-rounded country for your RPG campaign.

Answering these questions will help you determine the history, culture, and politics of the different countries in your Dungeons and Dragons (or any RPG) campaign. It is important to think about all aspects of your country when creating it, as each one will play a role in shaping the story you are trying to tell. With a little planning and thought, you can create a detailed and interesting country that will serve as the perfect setting for your campaign.

How to create a kingdom or country in your DnD Campaign

How many countries should you have in your world?

That is up to you, but I would suggest having at least 3 major countries. This allows you to have potential conflicts between countries. If you are going to have one country that has solidified the power of the entire world (a feat that has never happened on earth) then I would look at creating different underground factions that work to overthrow the one government order.

This allows your players to have the ability to join the resistance or go on the journey of starting out as being in power and then making a choice. The choice would be to work to crush the resistance or join the resistance. You may be surprised that not everyone will join the resistance every time that is a choice.

Every country has a culture

A culture is made up on 9 different broad categories with numerous questions in each. I am covering this subject as if you wanted to create an incredibly in-depth country and world. That said, there is a lot here you don’t need to answer.

I personally don’t answer all these questions when I create 3 different countries. I only answer things I think will be important for the campaign story I want to tell.

I include all of this here though because I want you to think about what could be done. So don’t feel pressured to answer all of these questions.

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Conflict

Is this country at war or peace?

Are they winning the war?

Is the war a cold war and they are in a stalemate currently?

Or maybe the enemy is gaining power and it is just a matter of time before open war is declared.

Maybe they are at peace because they were conquered by another nation years (decades / centuries?) ago and are looking to overthrow those that conquered them.

Environment

What is the country’s major geography (ice, forest, water, mountains, plains, desert, underground)?

Any weather features that shape the culture of the people (blizzards, 30 foot ice storms, desert tornado’s that swallow towns, sentient whirlpools, etc.)?

Any specific minerals or special animals that provide extra power or wealth to this country?

Magical effects that distort reality?

Any infamous caves or dungeons or renown?

Dungeon Master Campaign Planner for any tabletop RPG including dungeons and dragons

D&D Campaign Planner

Hello Dungeon Masters,

Do you want an easy to use guide to create your next campaign?

Check out our campaign planner for any TTRPG game. We will walk you through all the elements of good campaign planning. It covers the plan from the highest levels all the way down to the individual game sessions so that you can tell a cohesive story.

Check out our Campaign Planner on our Etsy store here.

Technology / Magic

What kind of homes are people living in?

Is this the height of magic in your world?

Or is this generations or millennia after the golden age of heroes and monsters?

Does everyone have magic or just a select few?

Any special rules for different types of magic?

Any forbidden or unknown magic in this country (do they hunt down clerics that follow a specific god or all warlocks)?

Does this country have access to all of the standard weapons in the players handbook (or are they behind and in the bronze age for example, or maybe ahead and have more modern weapons)?

Expression

Does this country have their own version of a common tongue or only speak a specific racial language?

Do they have their own form of communication (are all denizens born with minor telepathy and don’t speak)?

How many can read and write?

Do they have any special music / art / literature that is critical to your campaign?

What about roads or waterways for transportation?

Do they have a means of magical transportation available?

Dungeon Master Campaign Planner for any tabletop RPG including dungeons and dragons

D&D Campaign Planner

Hello Dungeon Masters,

Do you want an easy to use guide to create your next campaign?

Check out our campaign planner for any TTRPG game. We will walk you through all the elements of good campaign planning. It covers the plan from the highest levels all the way down to the individual game sessions so that you can tell a cohesive story.

Check out our Campaign Planner on our Etsy store here.

Organization

Is there a ruling class of nobility?

What about a single ruler or a group of people that run the country?

Are these people elected or born into the role(s)?

Is there one race in this country or many?

Does race determine class and economic conditions?

What about slavery?

If there are slaves are they based on those conquered in battle for other nations or based on race?

Do families align to clans or tribes?

If so, do these have hierarchies?

Values

Do the gods matter a lot or a little to this country?

Are there any major gods that are followed more than others?

Any banned gods or illegal beliefs and practices?

What system of gods will you use (D&D has several major types of gods, but you could also use Greek / Egyptian / Norse / etc. pantheons)?

Are there major sects, cults or factions that control the government?

How do average people view their values / gods?

Politics

See below for 17 different types of political systems to choose from.

Economy

How do people make money?

Is money only used for those outside of their hometown?

Are most people working in agriculture and industry?

Do people apprentice into a trade?

What about the poor? How are they treated?

Most D&D settings assume a level of capitalism, is this true in your world and in this country? If not, how does it work?

Major Cities

What are the major cities in each country?

What is their population? Typically you should only note the top three – five cities in each country by population.

Go here to see my full guide on how to create a city for your D&D game.

Red Line

What is the political system of the country you are creating?

There are at least 16 different types of political systems in the world throughout history. I will cover each one and give a brief definition so you can decide what system works well for the country / countries you are creating. I will classify them on the alignment scale as well to further help you. So if I say “Good any alignment” this means it could be any alignment on the law, neutral or chaos but would be good.

Republic (Typically Good any alignment)

A government whose authority is based on a citizen’s votes, which are represented by elected or nominated officials chosen in free elections.

Theocracy (Any alignment)

A government where the priests rule in the name of God (or gods) or by officials who are regarded as divinely guided, or consistent with the principles of a particular religion.

Technocracy (Any alignment)

A government where scientists and technical experts are in control of the state, and where rulers are selected on the basis of their knowledge and skill rather than their wealth and power.

Magocracy (Any alignment)

A government where magical users are in control of the state, and where rulers are selected on their basis of knowledge, skill and magical mastery rather than their wealth or other power.

Anarchy (Chaotic any alignment)

This is a state of absence of law, a state that is lawless and disorderly. This is usually a result of a collapse of another type of government before a new one can gain enough power to rise up.

Oligarchy (Any alignment)

Rule of the few. It is a form of power structure in which power effectively rests with a faction of persons or families. If a guild runs a country then this would be a form of Oligarchy.

Tyranny (Chaotic Evil)

Government or authority of an absolute ruler; arbitrary exercise of power over subjects not for the purposes of government or approved by law and justice.

Federation (Typically Good Any Alignment)

A political organization characterized by union of small states, groups or parties. These are self-governed in internal affairs and are united under a central government.

Think Star Trek’s Federation of Planets. Each planet governs itself but they also are a part of a larger government whose laws and interests they adhere to.

Junta (Typically any Lawful non-Good alignment)

This is a group or coalition of typically military groups that assume control of the state after overthrowing a government.

Democracy (Typically Good, any alignment)

A government where the people rule themselves. Votes are cast on all issues to determine laws. Most larger governments are Democratic Republics (see Republic).

Autocracy (Typically Evil any alignment)

A government controlled by absolute power and in the hands of a single person with minimal restraints on the decisions and lack of any mechanisms of popular control.

Fascism (Lawful or Neutral Evil)

Rule that advocates total control of the people and seeks to promote the ancestral and cultural values of a single race. They also seek to eradicate foreign influences.

Monarchy (Any alignment)

A government where the supreme authority is vested in a single and usually hereditary figure. These would include King, Queen, Emperor, and Empress to name a few. Normally the powers of the monarch is absolute, though in modern earth many monarchs have no official political power and are figure heads.

In your RPG this could still be true if there is a secret group that is controlling the monarch’s family (See Plutocracy)

Plutocracy (Any non-Good alignment)

Government ruled by the rich or powerful. Often used to describe a wealthy class ruling a government, often behind the scenes. Note this is a good way for a guild or faction to secretly control a country.

Totalitarian (Evil any alignment)

This system has a single political authority that regulates total control over the state. This is centralized and dictatorial.

There is some overlap between some of these systems. I hope that the alignments help you distinguish where it sounds like there could be an overlap but there isn’t one. Also, I am sure some will disagree with the alignment classifications. If you disagree just ignore the classification.

In addition to these types of governments you may have a Public Facing Government Type like “Republic” but the Real Type is “Plutocracy” with the merchant guild buying the representatives votes to stay in power behind the scenes.

Organization

Now jot down the names that everyone would know about that country.

Who is the ruler(s) or elected officials?

What are their names, class, race and level (most rulers should be level 12 or preferably level 18 or higher)?

Are there any NPC’s that the player will actually interact with from this country?

If so, have their name and basic stats ready before they could encounter them. This doesn’t have to be a full stat block. It could be just a list of skills the players need to utilize from that NPC.

I wouldn’t create more than 1 – 5 names for this unless your campaign will be highly centered around this country and the culture / politics of it.

Pulling it all together

By now you should have at least a quick outline of a country. At this point give it a name if you haven’t already.

Then make notes about who the leaders are for this country. What type of political system is it? Any other information that is required to know at this time?

Country stat block

Here is a country stat block you could use:

Country Name:

Political System:

Ruler

Name:

Race:

Class:

Level:

Alignment:

Repeat the rulers section if you have more than one important ruler the players need to care about.

Or see the below Canva template you can purchase on my Etsy Store that you can use with a free Canva account.

Dungeon Master Campaign Planner for any tabletop RPG including dungeons and dragons

D&D Campaign Planner

Hello Dungeon Masters,

Do you want an easy to use guide to create your next campaign?

Check out our campaign planner for any TTRPG game. We will walk you through all the elements of good campaign planning. It covers the plan from the highest levels all the way down to the individual game sessions so that you can tell a cohesive story.

Check out our Campaign Planner on our Etsy store here.

Any cultural points of note:

Then fill out 2 – 5 of these and note where they will be on your world map (if you have one) or at least a general direction of which country borders which and on what side(s).

Did you find this article useful? Let us know by leaving a comment or join us on YouTube or Etsy.

Conclusion

With this knowledge and questions you should be able to easily create a country with as little or as much information as you need. Don’t get overwhelmed. You really don’t need much except the name of the country and their political system.

If you know that the players are entering an Autocratic nation with a Lawful Evil 20th level wizard as its leader you can act accordingly. I would expect the law to be followed at all costs. Breaking the law would have swift and horrendous consequences (death for all infractions?).

This would be different than exploring a country with a republic of 13 elected leaders who are mostly good or neutral alignments. Laws are common sense and posted.

These two countries could be at war and your players may have a campaign involving stopping the evil 20th level wizard or these kingdoms rarely come up.

The beauty of this is that you don’t have to deep dive for more than a paragraph to come up with what you need. Or if you need more than feel free to create pages of content.

Happy gaming,

Dwight Scull

About the Author:

Dwight Scull has been playing tabletop role playing games (starting with Dungeons and Dragons 3.5) back in 2001. He started being a dungeon master around 2005.

He loves to play many different types of TTRPG’s, including GURPS, Shadowrun, Vampire: The Masquerade, Mage: The Ascension (and other White Wolf Games), Nights Black Agents, and others.

Fan of mysteries, light horror, co-op board games, true crime, sci-fi and fantasy.

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