maybe you all can help or make suggestions, and maybe just writing what i've got down again will help. here goes:
it's based on an old campaign i ran that was designed to be a series of dungeon crawls. the campaign died and i decided to rewrite it as a complete campaign world. the original idea revolved around a moon that was broken into 5 moons and an artifact from each moon that had to be retrieved and returned to each moon to restore a celestial balance. the original idea was that there are 5 moons one each for earth, air, fire, water, and aether which is the element of magic. no one knows about the aether moon because its invisible. i wanted to get into some more detail then i did when it was just a series of dungeon crawls. this is what i came up with:
a long time ago the main religion in the world (which i have yet to name) was controlled by four organizations (five actually but everyone's forgotten the aether faith) each of which was comprised primarily of one race. earth worshippers were dwarves, air worshippers were elves, fire worshippers were gnomes, and water worshippers were humans. aether worshippers were primarily orcs which in ancient times were the most civilized of all races and most powerful magically. the four (five) churches waged a huge war on each other, a war for supremacy now known as the gods' war. the war is now little more than legend, but it's curse still exists. the gods, the four (five) powers cursed the races for their arrogance and ended the war. dwarves who used the power of earth to create powerful automatons to destroy their enemies were cursed with the stoneskin curse. dwarves of ancient royal lineage slowly turn to stone over the course of their entire lives. the victims of the affliction die before the final transformation to stone so that in the end they are little more than statues of dead rotten bodies. before the curse the elves were a proud winged race. they used their power over the element of air to call vicious storms against their enemies, they were cursed to walk the earth as the lesser races and stripped of their wings. their ancestral homeland is wracked by constant bad weather and most of them migrated south abandonig their ancient homeland forever. gnomes used their power over fire to influence and enslave red dragons to fight for them. they were curse with exile. dragons (of all sorts, not just red) took over their lands and gnomes wander endlessly never to have a homeland of their own. if they ever gather in numbers greater than 100 the chaos of the curse of exile causes everything they've worked for to fall apart. because the dragons were unable to fight against their gnome oppressors they used kobolds to fight the gnomes, this is why gnomes hate kobolds so viciously. there were two great allied kingdoms of humans who both used the power of water. one used it to call great floods against their enemies, the other used it to cause relentless droughts. those who called floods were cursed witha great deluge that flooded their lands leaving nothing but a chain of islands where there were once proud mountains. those who called droughts suffered their lands to turn into a vast tractless desert. the only remnants of the once proud people are ever dwindling tribes of religious fanatics who beleive they must remain in the ruined desert land to await a savior who will end the curse and return their land to its former fertile glory. the orcs who used their unchallenged magical supremacy to create True Magic that altered reality itself were cursed with insanity. they have forgotten their former glory and their power over magic entirely, and now roam as mad tribes of barbarians who terrorize everyone everywhere they can.
the driving force of the campaign is that even after all these (possible thousands of) years the curse continues and is getting worse. more and more dwarves are becoming afflicted with stoneskin, the madness of the orcs is getting worse leading to more and more raids, the maximum number of gnomes who can congregate continues to shrink, the elves are degenerating lower and lower leading to whole communities of Low (wild) elves and fewer and fewer high elves, the islands of the humans continue to be swallowed by the waves and the desert to the south is inching ever northward threatening to eventually take the entire continent.
the only real limiting factor to that motivation is that it calls for heroic characters who give a damn about the future of the world and are willing to do something about it. that's not a huge problem, except that many of my players in the past have chosen less than sympathetic characters motivated by money or unheroic aims.
what i think i want to do is have a set of demigods, maybe the descendants of the original four elemental lords who don't want the world to be destroyed, and who want mortal heroes to step forward and right the wrongs of the long distant past and end the curse. where i'm stumped right now is the nature of these gods.
i suppose what i'll do is let the players make whatever characters they want and have those characters selected by their communities as their chosen heroes who must quest to end the curses.
so what i have to do now is:
-come up with names and the nature of the different gods
-lay out a world map
-name the different countries (i have some names)
this is where i'm stuck. the hardest part, the only thing i'm really having trouble with now, is designing a new pantheon of rebelious young upstart demigods who want to end the curse and take power from their progenitors. for some reason i'm just stuck on this.
writing all that out DID help me get it together in my head, and i'd love some feedback and suggestions.