Kingdoms of Kalamar

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Kingdoms of Kalamar is a Dungeons & Dragons campaign setting created by Kenzer & Co, probably more famous in /tg/ circles for their Knights of the Dinner Table comedic gaming comic and their HackMaster game. Originally taking the form of two books published for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2e, Sourcebook of the Sovereign Lands and Mythos of the Divine and Worldly, it was converted into a 3rd edition setting in the year 2000, and even had a brief 4th edition update. It's also the core setting for HackMaster from 2nd edition onwards.

Taking place on the continent of Tellene, on a world so primitive that its natives believe there is no other land apart from it, Kingdoms of Kalamar is best defined as a Low Fantasy Medieval RPG; casters are rare, most NPCs are low level, PCs are the only "true" heroes in the land, magical monsters are rarer than in, say, Forgotten Realms, and the general tech level is Late Iron Age at best. The titular Kalamar Empire, long the dominant power over the world, is fracturing, resulting in a time of great upheaval as different provinces exert their independence, and foreign empires seek to take advantage of this. Rather than separate pantheons for each race, the gods of Kalamar are simply worshipped in different names and preferences by different cultures

Given its Old School Roleplaying and Sword & Sorcery roots, Kingdoms of Kalamar is the epitome of humanocentrism; humans are "The Empire Building Race", and there are multiple distinct ethnicities with with their own unique cultures, languages and aesthetics - this is nothing new, Greyhawk, Dragonlance, Mystara and the Forgotten Realms are all crawling with human ethnicities, but KoK stands out for the sheer weight put into developing their human races and the downplaying of the nonhuman races. Of the traditional evil races, hobgoblins are the big threat of the setting, being the only nonhuman race that has the drive and discipline to create empires that can challenge humanity. In contrast, orcs are feral, wasteland-dwelling tribals considered more a persistent nuisance with regular raids on civilized lands than a people. Even the demihumans are practically a footnote; Elves have three very small and distinct kingdoms, and dwarves, gnomes, and halflings are mostly downtrodden.

The setting is known for, much like Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance, being extremely detailed, with large sourcebooks covering the history, culture and geography of Tellene extensively.

The downside is that KoK can take its "low fantasy" focus a bit too far. Although its defenders argue that it's a "story game", this is one of the only D&D settings where an official adventure includes the PCs being assistant farmers. No, not in the traditional "pesky varmints are stealing my livestock and stuff - kill them for me!" sense, in the sense of helping to sow seeds and harvest crops. Adding to this, KoK's writers took an unusual approach to mechanically balancing things. They placed much emphasis on martial skill in a game where, as we all know, wizards always ultimately grow much more powerful - ironically, some of their special native races, such as Golden Halflings actually gain bonuses to multiple mental stats and penalties to physical stats, while Half-Hobgoblins, do the opposite.

The 3rd edition Kingdoms of Kalamar books are notorious for being some of the worst content to be officially branded Dungeons & Dragon (not merely OGL, though it's a strong contender even in that) since they somehow got WotC to officially license it.

Races of Tellene[edit]

In 3rd edition, at least, the Kingdoms of Kalamar are home to a very wide variety of races, both in the traditional D&D sense of the word and the real-world sense of the word.

Human

  • Kalamaran
  • Brandobian
  • Dejy
  • Fhokki
  • Renaarian
  • Svimohz (divisible into these ethnicities: Azhnoms, IMeznams, Mewhi, OzhvinsZassho, Zazahnii)
  • Vohven Dejy (divisible into these ethnicities: Jynavi, Ryaga, Simay, Yeruji, Zhensha)

Dwarf

  • Hill Dwarf
  • Mountain Dwarf
  • Stone Dwarf

Elf

  • High Elf
  • Gray Elf
  • Wild Elf
  • Wood Elf
  • Dark Elf

Gnome

Halfling

  • Lightfoot
  • Amberhair

Hobgoblin

  • Krangi
  • Kargi
  • Kors
  • Dazlak
  • Rankki

Orc

  • Common Orc (Ukak)
  • Black Orc (Orar Ukak)
  • Gray Orc (Nogror Ukak)
  • Brown Orc (Chagun Ukak)
  • White Orc (Nukugh Ukak)

Bugbear

  • Common Bugbear
  • Arctic Bugbear
  • Desert Bugbear
  • Bugbear Mage

Kobold

One of the things setting Tellene apart from traditional D&D worlds is the abundance of halfbreed races:

3e Splatbooks[edit]

  • K&C1000: Campaign Setting Sourcebook
  • K&C1002: Player's Guide
  • K&C1004: Villain Design Handbook
  • K&C1005: Atlas
  • K&C1014: Dangeous Denizens: The Monsters of Tellene
  • K&C1029: Friend & Foe: The Gnomes and Kobolds of Tellene
  • K&C1031: Friend & Foe: The Elves and Bugbears of Tellene
  • K&C1036: Svimohzia: The Ancient Isle
  • K&C1203: Goods and Gear: The Ultimate Adventurer's Guide
  • K&C1001: Geanavue: The Stones of Peace
  • K&C1003: Pekal Gazetteer
  • K&C1006: Dungeon Master's Shield
  • K&C1007: Fury in the Wasteland: The Orcs of Tellene
  • K&C1008: Complete Arms & Equipment Guide - cancelled
  • K&C1009: Player Character Record Book
  • K&C1010: Sands of Khydoban - cancelled
  • K&C1011: Strength & Honor: The Mighty Hobgoblins of Tellene
  • K&C1015: Loona: Port of Intrigue
  • K&C1017: Salt and Sea Dogs: The Pirates of Tellene
  • K&C1018: Secrets of the Alubelok Coast
  • K&C1020: Player's Primer
  • K&C1022: Stealth and Style
  • K&C1023: Dungeon Master's Shield (Updated Edition)
  • K&C1024: Siege Warfare - cancelled
  • K&C1025: Villain Design Handbook
  • K&C1026: Cause & Conviction - cancelled
  • K&C1028: Blood & Shadows: The Dark Elves of Tellene
  • K&C1030: City Map Folio
  • K&C1201: Trove of Treasure Maps
  • K&C1204: By the Sword: Dueling in Realms of Fantasy
  • K&C1100: The Root of All Evil
  • K&C1101: Forging Darkness
  • K&C1102: Coin's End
  • K&C1103: Harvest of Darkness
  • K&C1104: Midnight's Terror
  • K&C1105: Aldriv's Revenge
  • K&C1106: Deathright
  • K&C1107: Siren's Prize
  • K&C1109: Lands of Mystery
  • K&C1110: The Invasion of Arun'Kid
  • K&C1111: The Lost Tomb of Kruk-Ma-Kali
  • K&C1112: The Fate of Heroes
  • K&C1113: Garden of the Plant Master
  • K&C1114: The Dark Secret of Death Isle - cancelled
  • K&C1115: Stand and Deliver
  • K&C1116: Perils of Pekal
  • K&C1117: Black as the Brightest Flame
  • K&C1205: Brothers by Blood
Third Party Dungeons & Dragons Campaign Settings
Basic D&D: Wilderlands of High Fantasy
AD&D: Kingdoms of Kalamar
3rd/3.5 Edition: Avadnu - Blue Rose - Dawnforge - Diamond Throne - Dragonmech
Dragonstar - Golarion - Iron Kingdoms - Kingdoms of Kalamar
Larisnar - Midgard - Midnight - Ptolus - Rokugan - Scarred Lands
Spellslinger - Wilderlands of High Fantasy - World of Farland
4th Edition: Kingdoms of Kalamar - Midgard - Midnight - World of Farland
5th Edition: Arkadia - Askis - Black Iron - Blue Rose - Brancalonia
Chronicles of Aeres - Fallen Camelot - Grim Hollow
Humblewood - Iron Kingdoms - Midgard - Mists of Akuma
Numenera - Odyssey of the Dragonlords - Primeval Thule
Ptolus - Scarred Lands - Seas of Vodari - Svilland
Thrones & Bones - The Islands of Sina Una - Vast Kaviya
World of Farland