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Southlands sends Dungeons & Dragons to mythical Egypt in updated setting from Kobold Press

Promises a more informed and thoughtful take on North Africa this time around.

RPG publisher Kobold Press has launched a Kickstarter for an updated re-release of its Southlands campaign setting, which will be compatible with Dungeons & Dragons 5E.

Southlands features a world highly reminiscent of mythical ancient Egypt and North Africa, complete with the pyramids, vast deserts and people with the heads of Egyptian deities. A video previewing the setting shows off lush jungles, sprawling underwater temples, flying palaces and a city populated and ruled by Catfolk.

The campaign advertises a core worldbook that details the setting, locations, factions and other pertinent details. A player’s guide provides Southlands-specific options for creating characters from the unique cultures, including Gnolls, Heru (ravenfolk similar to Kenku) and Catfolk. It will also add class options and heroic progression tracks at later levels. The City of Cats book details a “home base” for parties full of adventure hooks, quests and storylines, similar to Forgotten Realms’ Waterdeep.

Cover image for YouTube videoSouthlands 5th Edition: A Realm of High Adventure. A pitiless sun in a realm of god-kings and jinn!

Kobold Press will also be producing a separate collection of three adventures by RPG designer Jerry LeNeave called Tales Beneath the Sands. It will be compatible with Southlands but specifically tied to the City of Cats sub-setting.

The team behind the updated Southlands includes Empire of Ghouls designer Richard Green, former Wizards of the Coast editor Kim Mohan, fantasy cartographer Anna B. Meyer, RPG designers Brandes Stoddard and Richard Pett, and Kobold Press editor Meagan Maricle.

This Kickstarter is the second time Southlands has been crowdfunded by Kobold Press. It first announced the setting in 2014, raising over $97,000 for a world heavily inspired by pulp-fiction and adventure tales of Africa and the Middle East. Kobold continued to develop for the setting until late 2016.

Much of that work lifted religion as ancient myth and cultural differences as “exotic” pastiche, leading to a derivative representation of the region as described largely by European colonists and archaeologists from the 19th and 20th centuries. In the Kickstarter FAQ, Kobold has assured backers it will improve their research and representation this time.

“We've involved creators who trace their descent to those regions as well as employed cultural consultants to review the text and art,” the answer reads. “One cultural consultant who specialises in Middle Eastern representation in tabletop RPGs and lives in that region has given us preliminary feedback that we've incorporated into this project's launch. As all of the text and art nears completion and the stretch goals are incorporated, we'll continue to employ these diverse creators as well as cultural consultants every step of the way.”

Dicebreaker has reached out to Kobold Press for more details about this process but did not hear back by time of publication. We will update this story as we learn more. The Kickstarter Campaign for Southlands runs until January 1st 2021.

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Chase Carter avatar

Chase Carter


Chase is a freelance journalist and media critic. He enjoys the company of his two cats and always wants to hear more about that thing you love. Follow him on Twitter for photos of said cats and retweeted opinions from smarter folks.