A little while ago, a friend of mine decided to start up a Dungeons and Dragons, and I was inclined to play because he is an excellent game master.
We tried something new for this game- the Dawn of Worlds world creation system.
The GM and all players sat down together and created a world. We started with an outline of a map, and from there, created our game world's history through the ages. Each of us took turns sculpting a little landscape and creating different races in a system that worked beautifully. I highly reccomend using this collaborative world builder over a GM made campaign setting if only because the world was instantly three dimentional for all of us players.
I have to say, that collaboration in creating the world made for a spectacular experience. When we started playing, we all felt like we had a detailed and interesting world to play in. It was kind of like starting up a Dragon Lance, L5R or Iron Kingdoms game with a group that knows the history, has read the novels and knows the setting's details.
Now, we did do some strange things with our world. The race of goblins was born when the hobgoblins made treaties with the halflings and eventually interbred with them. The dwarves have built their civilization with the minotaurs and live in peace with one another (and have for so long that all dwarves and minotaurs see one another as brothers).
That is what led me to want to convert and paint up a minotaur fighter featured below. The base mini is an old Games Workshop minotaur, the shield comes from a Reaper ogre, and the rest is all just green stuff.