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Author Topic: Will you help me brainstorm for a Fantasy Western setting?  (Read 502 times)
Straight Outta Johto
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« on: May 02, 2017, 08:28:57 PM »

I made a pitch to some of my college neighbors whom we play DnD together. Our current DM is running a fan-setting game and I have been pitching some of my settings for a while now. I came up with a new idea, and I pitched it to them. Basically I said "How would you guys feel if I ran a game in a Fantasy Western." They immediately jumped on, and I went sweet.

This is an idea that I have had swirling in my brain for a while, but not in any great capacity. When I was younger I attempted to make one, but I never went through with it, and i couldn't give you the first detail of what I had put down.

One ground rule though. I'm not into making an Alternate History setting. Yes, I know. Of all people, I'm the one to say this, but I'm interested in making my own world without the historical baggage of our 1800's.

So with that out of the way, let me share some ideas I had.

A dragon railroad baron who terrorizes and sweeps over and destroys anything that stands in the way of the railroad.

A Southern Gothic swampland, ruled over by a  of darkness. Not the best place in the world, but the trains run on time.

Dinosaurs... because dinosaurs.

A society recovering from a federal dystopia, and people splitting up into their own groups and tribes.

And yes, I know about Deadlands, and I will probably end up pilfering ideas from that, but I still want to do some brainstorming.

PS, Steerpike, if I end up ripping off Fever in the Blood I apologize beforehand. I'll try to be original though.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2017, 08:32:30 PM by LoA » Logged


Spawn of Ungoliant
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« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2017, 09:07:51 PM »

Rip off all you want, I posted it to be used!

Your setting sounds a lot more overtly "gonzo," though, with the dragon rail baron. Are you going to do the standard D&D Tolkienian races?
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Straight Outta Johto
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« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2017, 09:20:39 PM »

Steerpike

Rip off all you want, I posted it to be used!

Your setting sounds a lot more overtly "gonzo," though, with the dragon rail baron. Are you going to do the standard D&D Tolkienian races?

Eh, probably not. Or at least not orcs, because the whole "savage hordes" thing is already pretty shallow in normal settings, but in this context, I'm not even going to poke that with a 39 1/2" pole.

But yeah, i probably will use a variety of races. I plan on having lizardfolk, and Dhampirs in this setting as well. This is just going to be a one shot right now, but if we like what were playing, I said I would run it full stop. Just making sure if it lasts, that I have some ground work done.

For the record were all pretty huge fans of 90's Space Western anime, such as Cowboy Bebop, Trigun, Outlaw Star, and the like, so maybe that will color this as well...
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« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2017, 09:35:15 PM »

I'm just going to indulge in the CBG's favorite activity, talking about one's own stuff, and leave this here for possible inspiration.
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Spawn of Ungoliant
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« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2017, 11:09:21 PM »

I get the feeling you want the setting to veer away from the unpleasant realities of settling the West and the new world generally - slavery, colonialism, the genocide of indigenous peoples, that sort of thing.

Do you plan to have the setting be about settling a new land at all? If so, are there indigenous peoples/creatures, perhaps in a more productive relationship with the settlers?
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Straight Outta Johto
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« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2017, 01:15:03 AM »

Steerpike

I get the feeling you want the setting to veer away from the unpleasant realities of settling the West and the new world generally - slavery, colonialism, the genocide of indigenous peoples, that sort of thing.

Do you plan to have the setting be about settling a new land at all? If so, are there indigenous peoples/creatures, perhaps in a more productive relationship with the settlers?

Oh no, don't get me wrong. I am not trying to romanticize or sugar coat the old west. There are indigenous people being oppressed and slaughtered. I'm just trying to figure out an interesting way to angle the trope. Making the orcs the natives being oppressed though leaves a sour taste in my mouth, so I'm not going for that. Still having several races being forced to integrate into the encroaching culture is an interesting idea. I always find the history of empires fascinating in how they try to integrate there conquered peoples into there culture.

Here's how things are going so far.

Once upon a time, there was a federal republic formed in a Fantasy world filled with magic, dragons, and the like. Now the republic has fallen apart, and the people are forced to govern themselves.

Since there wasn't the chance for a grand industrial revolution the likes of which we saw in our world, the technology stayed in a state of non-progression with the norm being Alchemically powered fire-arms, and mana powered steam engines (or something).

While there are no "nations" there are city-states, and industrial states, with the occasional piece of territory ruled over by a militia protected republic, or Warlord. Still there is a grand since of cultural unification, and there is a general feeling of cultural supremacy. The magic of the Republic was and is advanced and superior magic, while things like druidism, and witchcraft is filthy primitive magic. So instead of a racial (although it still plays a part) supremacy, it's a magocratic supremacy.
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Spawn of Ungoliant
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« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2017, 10:45:09 AM »

That's an an interesting setup. I think the event causing the destruction of the Republic is going to have to be pretty cataclysmic if they're this supposedly advanced civilization that hasn't been able to maintain any sort of political coherence. Presumably this could also be the reason that technological progress has stalled.
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Straight Outta Johto
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« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2017, 11:20:18 AM »

Steerpike

That's an an interesting setup. I think the event causing the destruction of the Republic is going to have to be pretty cataclysmic if they're this supposedly advanced civilization that hasn't been able to maintain any sort of political coherence. Presumably this could also be the reason that technological progress has stalled.

The republic was smaller than the United States, with fewer individual states. Imagine our Civil War, but with each state going to war with each other, and that's basically what happened. In the wake of it, There were few governmental powers left at all, and the people were left on their own. It's sort of an Anarcho-capitalist state when you think about it. There are still businesses and industrial firms, and some of them act as tyrannical regimes over sections of territory. Still there's plenty of lawlessness in the land, and while there are militia protected city states, there's only the seedlings of what could be called nation states. Plenty of Warlords are trying to unite villas, and towns together though into kingdoms though.
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« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2017, 11:40:45 AM »

Interesting!

So what's going on in the "Europe" of this setting, like the old colonial powers, presumably that the Republic emerged from?
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Straight Outta Johto
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« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2017, 11:54:57 AM »

Steerpike

Interesting!

So what's going on in the "Europe" of this setting, like the old colonial powers, presumably that the Republic emerged from?

I'm not sure, I'm going to have a "Europe". Very tempted to have an "Orient" though. Even before Sparkletwists Frontier (Thank you Sparkletwist for posting), I was kind of in love with Samurais fighitng along side Cowboys. Something inside of me won't let me do that though.

Actually you know what, I totally thought of a Vampiric France esque nation who colonizes a swamp and this is where vampires and Dhampirs come from. Not to mention other horrors.
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« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2017, 12:41:55 PM »

I think deciding whether there's a colonizing power is very important, since if the Republic has been there for a long, long time, they're not exactly settling a frontier anymore, and that would definitely change the dynamic between the former-Republic states and any indigenous peoples - indeed, it wouldn't even be clear that the Republic weren't indigenous to the area themselves, and this would be more like the Japanese subjugation of the Ainu, or the English domination over Ireland, than it would be like the colonization of the Americas.
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« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2017, 03:16:47 PM »

What if the setting is a very small planet, mostly dry land with some small landlocked seas, and the republic actually covered most of it? A globally spanning "western" culture would then make sense, and remove any need for foreign civilizations that would draw focus away from the core aesthetic.

LoA

Dinosaurs... because dinosaurs.
Now here's an opportunity to go deep into the fantasy: remove common domestic animals such as horses, cows and dogs, and replace them with different breeds of domesticated dinosaurs. You get "cowboys" riding on iguanodons, driving herds of triceratopses. Wild sauropods on the plains as the big game to hunt instead of buffalos.
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Straight Outta Johto
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« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2017, 05:39:23 PM »

Steerpike

I think deciding whether there's a colonizing power is very important, since if the Republic has been there for a long, long time, they're not exactly settling a frontier anymore, and that would definitely change the dynamic between the former-Republic states and any indigenous peoples - indeed, it wouldn't even be clear that the Republic weren't indigenous to the area themselves, and this would be more like the Japanese subjugation of the Ainu, or the English domination over Ireland, than it would be like the colonization of the Americas.

Fair enough. Once I decide what races to put in this race, I'll have them come from various places. I'm starting off on a simple foot to see where it goes. If we like what were playing, I'll expand this setting.

Ghostman

What if the setting is a very small planet, mostly dry land with some small landlocked seas, and the republic actually covered most of it? A globally spanning "western" culture would then make sense, and remove any need for foreign civilizations that would draw focus away from the core aesthetic.

LoA

Dinosaurs... because dinosaurs.
Now here's an opportunity to go deep into the fantasy: remove common domestic animals such as horses, cows and dogs, and replace them with different breeds of domesticated dinosaurs. You get "cowboys" riding on iguanodons, driving herds of triceratopses. Wild sauropods on the plains as the big game to hunt instead of buffalos.

I'll see what my Players think, cause we are huge fans of Trigun and Cowboy Bebop, so maybe a small planet would work.

Also yes. I plan on having an alien/fantastical environment. I also love the idea of having giant insects and a few other little things here and there.

Broncosaurus Rex was also a setting I was thinking of plundering. I'll look into that.
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« Reply #13 on: May 03, 2017, 06:19:59 PM »

I dig the idea of the expanding planetary colony (maybe a moon) on some big old gas giant with mega-twisters and dust-devils that would make Old Scratch himself blush and hunker down. Especially if said small planet/moon has dinosaurs. Megaflora and megafauna might exist amidst otherwise organic desolation, basically oases created by nutrient-rich, xenoplanetary meteors, whose meteorites might have eldritch powers, leading prospectors panhandling or mining for them. Maybe they are really ancient, or happen more frequently due to stray ring-dust or something, and the indigenous population traveled between the ephemeral blooms of life created by said eldritch meteors.

Also, the name Broncosaurus Rex is just really fun. 
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Spawn of Ungoliant
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« Reply #14 on: May 03, 2017, 06:30:26 PM »

LoA

Fair enough. Once I decide what races to put in this race, I'll have them come from various places. I'm starting off on a simple foot to see where it goes. If we like what were playing, I'll expand this setting.

I don't know if you necessarily need to detail any major lands beyond the Republic right away, but I do think it's important to ask questions like how long the Republic has been around, how long ago the war was that brought it down, and how it's regarded by the other peoples it interacts with. If the Republic is essentially a realm on the frontier, founded as or descended from a series of colonies by faraway imperial powers 200-300 years ago, which has now broken down into fragmented states after a civil war, that's going to make a very different-looking world physically and politically than one where the Republic has been around for many many centuries or even millennia and where there's no real frontier being settled or colonized, just political conflict between city states and other factions in the ruins of a once-great empire.
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