Category: Tertia Worldbuilding

Tertia: Introduction

Let’s kick off the world profiles with a bang, starting with a positively massive setting that I intend to draw a lot of stories from. The world of Tertia, a mortal planet that has felt more than its fair share of strife.

Tertia started out as just the setting for a single short story about a Demon named Gonel; the first short story in my Casual Villainry series. At the time I named the world Tertia due to the connotations of the word tertiary with color. The whole idea of that short story was about how Gonel did not respect the various intricacies of the reality around him. In his mind he filtered everything down into its most simple state, particularly the individuality of other beings as he only saw them all as inferior to himself. All black and white, as he would say. As he freed himself from the Underworld he emerged in Tertia, a world that enjoyed a deep level of acceptance and diversity across its lands. It was a world that had built itself up to prosperity through using the unique skills of every individual, it represented how great a culture could be if everyone could be who they were without discrimination. It was really a one shot thing, an unrealistically happy world specifically built to play to the themes of this one short story.

Some time later I ran my first D&D campaign with some friends using the Eberron setting. For this campaign I kinda carried the torch from what the previous DM had been using, although it quickly became apparent that the world I was building wasn’t quite Eberron. I was using Eberron as a basis for sure but I was constructing my own lore based on just a few lines from wiki pages, by the end of it I had basically made my own setting. It was a fun campaign but I wasn’t quite satisfied, I set things up with the intention to continue using that world but I wasn’t happy just continuing to use this demi-Eberron that I’d frankensteined into being. I knew I wanted to do a bunch of big changes and use one of my own settings, the problem lay in making one that would still be usable for D&D. In the primary reality, the Gods don’t really interact with the mortal plane after their fiasco with the Firstborn, so I had to find a reason why the people of this specific world would know about them and hail them. Along with deities, another important part of D&D worlds are the planes, which I hadn’t really considered much for the primary reality. There was the mortal world and the afterlife realms and that was about it, so I also had to find a way to implement substitutes for other D&D planes.

As I looked over the various settings I had on hand it was Tertia that clicked with me. I already had one mortal world setting that the Gods had touched, named Aelia, which was a world of importance because it was where the Demon God emerged when he resolved to lead the mortal realm himself. I couldn’t use that world because it was already too defined to bend how I needed it to, though I also had another world that had suffered the emergence of a powerful Demon. That world was Tertia.

Various things clicked for me as I thought about it. The people of Tertia were exposed to a true Demon from an afterlife realm, one who broke through the space between planes to get to their world. This would draw the inhabitants of the world towards planar studies and also give them an inkling as to what the afterlife truly was. Additionally, since Tertia was made to have a mass of cultures for Gonel to clash against it had the potential to be deep enough for a D&D campaign. Though it wasn’t entirely perfect, Gonel’s story had been told and with Tertia established as this enlightened world of acceptance and progress it didn’t really have much conflict going for it. There were no big draws going for it, so I realized I would have to make its history more complex while maintaining it as a world with many diverse cultures.

I worked on it more, splicing together the things that Tertia already had with the original lore I’d made for my not-quite-Eberron campaign. The result is what you’ll be seeing throughout the rest of Tertia’s worldbuilding posts. I’ve yet to use Tertia as the D&D setting it was intended to be but I hope that I can put it to use some day. Even if I can’t, perhaps one of you will like it and run a Tertia campaign on your own accord.