D&D Campaign Setting

From Billy Goats Gruff to D&D Campaign Setting

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Nerdarchist Dave here with a recap of one of our latest videos where we were inspired by Studio Woe’s Gruff – A Tactical Card Game of Mutated Monster Goats. They have a KickStarter for Gruff: Stuff of Nightmares you can check out, a stand-alone game fully compatible with the Gruff rules system and other Gruff games. Talking with the creator of Gruff really got my juices flowing for a semi-silly D&D campaign setting somewhere between Ravenloft and Dark Sun, but with evil shepherds and lots of goats.

D&D Gruff campaign setting

Let’s create the craziest D&D campaign setting

The game has six factions:

  • Grendel: The viking goats. Bred from the original three Billy Goats Gruff
  • Deepthings: The eldritch goats, unknowable things that infest the gap between universes
  • Contraptions: Mechanical engines of destruction
  • Funkfiends: Goats infused with troll snot to become creatures of vile plague power
  • Skullclan: Undead berserkers hovering the line between this life and the next
  • Stuffkin: Plushy nightmare goats that absorb dreams and use them to fuel their battle prowess

I’ll use the above factions to extract some of my thoughts into a fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons campaign. Below you can check out the actual video where we discuss the ideas for the Gruff D&D Campaign setting. There where some things that definitely didn’t make it into the video. One of the first changes is turning our goats into beastmen, or anthropomorphic rams if you will. Next, each of the shepherds will need some re-envisioning as well. Each faction will have a character class associated with it too, representing the dominant character types among the ranks.

Rule by Gruff Shepherd Kings

D&D campaign setting Gruff
The Studio Woe gallery has incredible pieces of art to inspire your own imagination, campaign settings and adventures. Click the image for more.

The faction leaders command their kingdoms by iron crook, Gruff soldiers, and invoking dark powers.


The viking goats. They will become seafaring barbarians in our D&D campaign setting who have learned to ply the seas and have mastered warfare at sea. The Grendel Shepherd King will be the most physical of them all. Character class: barbarian


The eldritch goats. Brooking and trafficking with foul beings to infuse their goatmen with horrific powers. This Shepherd King is the most insane of them all, having stared into the dark places between the worlds. Character class: Great Old One Patron warlock


Mechanical engines of destruction. These are the tinkers and mad scientists of the lot. Of all the Shepherd Kings this is the one to pay the least attention to her kingdom, buried so deeply in her mad experiments. Her contraptions sometimes get loose and maraud throughout the kingdom. Character class: artificer


Combining goats and their ancient enemies the trolls through vial alchemies and transmutations. Rumor is there may be a prison buried deep beneath this Shepherd King’s kingdom stocked full of trolls for experimenting on. Character class: Transmutation Arcane Tradition wizard


Undead berserkers. What would our Shepherd Kings be without at least one who trafficked in death and undeath? Character class: Necromancy Arcane Tradition wizard

Stuffkin: Plushy nightmare goats. By harnessing dreams and nightmares this Shepherd King is able to raise a force of nightmarish goatmen abominations. Character class: Circle of Dreams druid

I haven’t even delved into the horrid living conditions of the common folk or the troll faction. If there is interest perhaps we could explore this topic a bit more and really begin to flush out the world of Gruff for Dungeons & Dragons. Let us know in the comments below if you’d like run your own Gruff campaign and see this setting concept explored and developed more. And stay nerdy!

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Follow Dave Friant:
My name is Dave Friant I've been gaming off and on for over 27 years. But here is the thing it's always been a part of my life I've kept secret and hidden away. I've always been ashamed of the stigma that gaming and my other nerdy and geeky pursuits summon forth. Recently I decided screw it! This is who I am the world be damned. From now on I'm gonna be a geek, nerd, or however folks want to judge me and just enjoy life. Currently one of my greatest joys is introducing my 13 yr old son to table top RPG's.

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