West World (3.5e Campaign Setting)
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The West World campaign setting centers around the current technological level being that of the 1870s. It is made to use the d20 system in an American West scenario. For example, your average half-orc would ride a bull, fight with a pickaxe, and speak with a heavy Texas accent.
Native, Half Native, & Foreigners
Foreigners come from the other side of the Ocean. Natives live in tribes and were here before the foreigners came. Half natives are children of Natives and Foreigners.
Foreigners think that natives are superstitious, ignorant and dumb. Natives think foreigners are crazy, violent and dumb. Half Natives are seen as potential traitors for both sides.
How To Make Tribes
Tribes have the following traits:
- They are a community of native Humans, goblinoids, orcs or any other race.
- Low level technology.
- Metal made items are rare.
- Each tribe has its own folklore, customs and traditions.
- No heavy armors.
- Base classes that are unknown to them: Wizard, Paladin, and Cleric.
- Religion tends to be animistic and polytheistic, and passed on via spoken word or through direct personal experience of the divine.
Nomads live from hunting, and they travel following the migration routes of their main preys. Non-nomadic tribes focus on commerce and agriculture. In northerly regions, some tribes winter in semi-permanent villages, then disperse to hunt and fish when the weather warms up.
How to make a Foreigner Society
Foreigner societies have the following traits:
- They are a community that came from the other side of the Ocean.
- Technology at a higher lever than tribes.
- Metal made items are valuable to them.
- Folklore, customs and traditions are similar among the foreigners.
- They have access to heavy weaponery.
- They know all the base classes, but they see Druids as primitive clerics.
- Religion tends to be homogenous, and passed on via the written word from canonical, established sources.
Whether they live in cities or on farms, foreigners (as a society) almost never follow nomadic lifestyles.
Climate is temperate in most areas, tropical in the southern zones, polar in the northern ones, semiarid in the western, mediterranean in coastal lands and arid in some places. The land has mountains, rivers, deserts and is between two big water masses called the Oceans.
Is it safe to play outside?
Surviving outside the main cities of the foreigners is hard, and many settlements near the frontier of their so called "country" have become home for dangerous characters with a wild animal like behavior. Tribes know how to find the resources needed to survive and also know about any hidden danger in their lands. But there is no danger bigger than wars that can go from a big size fight among two countries to a little feud between two families with weapons.
Where can I find Foreigners?
Foreigners live in settlements that can be of one of the following types:
Typical Small Town
A typical town has a warehouse, a bank, a post office, a school, and houses. Also the typical small town is fairly near a river and most people there work as farmers or artisans.
Typical Big Town
As the small town but it has buildings devoted to the entertainment such as saloons, theaters and bordellos. They also have access to mass transportation devices that can transport large amounts of people and goods at a fairly good speed. Most people here are professionals or performers.
A big town, but with museums, a university, a government office, and even bigger buildings.
A encampment is a temporary place to live while exploring the land.
What can I find in a tribal settlement?
Tents, nomads give a tent to each family. Non-nomadic tribes build lodges.
Animals, Tribes raise horses and dogs (both for transportation, and in some cases the latter for meat).
Crafters, Tribesmen craft weapons, tents, clothes and many other useful articles.
Medicine Man, he heals wounds and know many useful things about nature and various spirits.
Elders, they make important decisions for the tribe by pooling their wisdom.
Chief, a tribe's chief can be a man or a woman. Their power is usually not binding, but most of their tribesmen will follow their lead out of respect and deference. Some tribes have two chiefs: one for times of war and one for peacetime.
Brave Ones, warriors and hunters who slay dangerous monsters, bring home meat, and defend their tribes against enemy warriors.
What can I find outside a town?
Forests rich on all kind of animals and mythic creatures, friendly tribes or roguish warriors, bandits, mad soldiers, etcetera, etcetera.
As a Foreigner you can be a Mercenary, someone in the seek of an exciting fast way to earn money; an Explorer that wants to publish a book about your findings in the future, or a Soldier chosen by the government; and many other possibilities.
If you want to play a Native, you might go into adventuring because you were chosen by the chief to accomplish a dangerous mission; or maybe you want to gain renown as a warrior (and maybe you hope to become chief yourself, one day); or you are seeking some sacred place where you can find the help your tribe needs.
Half-Natives often adventure to prove themselves (both to themselves and others), or to learn about their origins or reunite with a 'lost' parent.
Revenge (whether seeking or fleeing it) is another good reason to travel across the plains, regardless of one's background or parentage.
Making a Native Character
- You know the dialect and traditions of your tribe.
- Maybe you have learn some foreigner words in your trips.
- You think writing is magic, hence, making a wizard would be quite complicated
- Doesn't matter what class you would choose: You will not have a metal armor at the 1st level of class.
- You have a mix of curiosity and fear about the foreigner's things.
- If you are nomad you know how to start a fire, put a tent, ride horses, etc., etc.
- Foreigners think you are a savage. They don't care about your gods.
DM option: natives get +2 survival and -1 on charisma based skill rolls against foreigners. Nomads gets extra +2 ride and charisma penalty raises to -2.
Making a Foreigner Character
- Maybe you have learn some native dialects in your voyages.
- You think your language is common.
- At the beginning you can pick any class except druid.
- You know very little about the natives.
- Some tribes see you as the enemy.
- Some other tribes don't think you are their worst enemy.
- You know many things about the foreigners.
Making a Half-Native Character
- You get the traits of either a foreigner or a native character.
- People distrust you.
- You have some distinctive feature that shows that you are neither a foreigner or a native.
Where can I find plots?
Western movies and TV shows, movies, books, and even video games have many useful plots which you can use in your West World campaign. Here are a few examples:
- A dangerous criminal has vowed to return to town at high noon and exact revenge on the lawmen who killed his brother.
- Foreigners want to build their farms/railroads/cattle ranges on lands which Natives must cross every year as they follow the bison herds. War is threatened if a mutually-agreeable solution cannot be found.
- A rich man learns that a small farming village is about to become a major junction in a new railway line. He hires mercenaries to drive the settlers (or Natives) off their land, so that he can claim it and sell it at enormous profit.
- A "friendly" tribe helped us to win the war and we gave them guns, but now they are our enemies.
- A mad scientist is killing the forest with his experiments, and the Natives form a confederacy to drive him out. But will they stop once he's gone, or will they drive out the nearby settlers as well?
- A poor village learns that a group of fearsome bandits have plans to ride into town, burn their homes and crops, and carry off their wives and daughters. In desperation, the villagers pool their tiny stores of money to hire a crew of gunslingers to defend them. But can they even trust these violent strangers?
- The players are hired by to go into the hills in search of a young woman who was kidnapped from her husband's homestead last spring by a nearby tribe. They find the woman alive and well, but learn that she has "gone native", and doesn't want to be rescued anymore.
- Blazing Saddles
- Dances With Wolves
- The 'Dollars' Trilogy ('A Fistful of Dollars'; 'For a Few Dollars More'; 'The Good, the Bad and the Ugly')
- High Noon
- The Magnificent Seven
- The Mask of Zorro
- The Quick and the Dead
- True Grit
- The Wild Bunch
- The Lone Ranger
- The Rifleman
Books & Graphic Novels
- Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West
- Rapunzel's Revenge
- The Tales of Alvin Maker
- Call of Juarez
- Fallout: New Vegas
- Red Dead Revolver
- Oregon Trail
- Wild ARMS 3
How can use my Monster Manual?
Virtually any monster can be justified as a "Native" creature with a little creative reworking, but here are a few specific monsters which actually come from Native American mythology:
- Deer Woman
- Flying Head
- Wasgo (Sea Wolf)
- White Buffalo Woman
Native American myths are replete with cannibalistic giants, hags, and ogres of all descriptions, as well as Little Folk, ghosts and corporeal undead, merfolk, and giant animals (especially snakes).
A creature that could come in real handy for the Natives to fight off unwanted Foreigners could be the Rust Monster. What better animal to tame than giant bugs that eat the enemy´s weapons? Foreigners would probably think of them as a plague and try to exterminate them, while Natives could see them as a blessing from the gods or spirits. In our world, railroads conquered the West, and railroads would be hell of a lot harder to build and maintain with rust monsters running around.
In the real world, Europeans brought a wide variety of plants and animals with them to the New World - some intentionally, and some by accident; some with benign consequences, and others which proved disastrous for native plants and animals. Think about how Old World monsters might interact with New World biomes. Would pixies go feral and start swarming if they escaped into the wild? What would happen if dwarven miners imported a team of delvers to help them in their search for gold, and then abandoned them underground when the mine went bust? If Natives have no natural immunity to lycanthropy, then couldn't it very quickly escalate into a serious problem for them?
How about some guns?
You could adapt some from the MSRD, I think that the Pathfinder with the rate of fire changed to Single looks like the weapons of that time. Compare your weapon against the Longbow to improve the balance.
Remember guns can be made to ignore DEX bonus to AC, since I don´t think that other than Chuck Norris, people can dodge bullets. That said, it is probably better to give the natives, less armoured, some way to survive the foreigner onslaught. More Druids among the native society or a version of the lvl 2 SCR/WIZ spell "Protection from arrows" for druids that can be "Protection from bullets". Other than that, Repelling metal spell could work, except for the fact that it is a lvl 8 spell and if only lvl 15 o 16 druids can use it, natives will be massacred.
An easier way is making cheap 5/6 shot wands with less range than wizard's wands.Those wands are easy to use and recharge.
How can I give a more 1800 flavor to the base classes?
You can use the normal D&D classes and give them guns as simple ranged weapons or if you wish something more advanced you could try these variant classes.
The Meteorite Expedition
From the Journals of the famous explorer Guildhelm Clery, who is exploring our newfound* country.
- "Newfound" to the Foreigners, that is...
Day 7 : The Audacious Adventurers
The meteorite has fallen in a place that natives call "The lands of the Poison", they say a cursed human lives there. I got the best guide in town, or at least the only one that want to go there, here there is what I know about him:
Adahy was born in a human tribe that call themselves "people of a different speech". Many moons later he became a brave hunter that had fought for his tribe many times. Adahy is a strong warrior that carries around a longbow, a lance and an tomahawk (a small throwing axe made of stone and wood). His armor is made with the skins and hairs of many of the beasts he has killed. His riding skills are outstanding.
Also an old friend came with us:
Her name is Sarah, but people call her "the red fox". She is a smart gal with awesome aim. Her favorite guns are two pistols with handles made of silver signed by a guy named Paul. I think she came with us only because she doesn't want to pay the many debts she got in the city. Even though she always dress like a man while we are outside, she carries an expensive dress with her because she says "maybe someday she will need it."
And in the town one more man joined the team as a bodyguard:
Fëanor has ears like those of the "Long Ears" tribe, but he is a taller and stronger than any of them. He bought his clothes in the town's warehouse. Adahy doesn't trust on him because he says this half native has an "evil eye". Maybe that's true because I saw him doing some strange things. But because I think this expedition could be really tough. I allowed him to go with us.
Day 10: Encounter with Vampire Bats
I couldn't get any rest tonight, our camp was attacked but pretty big bats. Adahy's arrows could kill the biggest one of them, Sarah shot at many of them, and Fëanor exterminated the rest.
Day 12: Little Feet
We are near the "Little Feet" hunting zone. We found many booby traps, and I can't thank Sarah enough for deactivating them. We also were attacked by goblinoids many times, and at the end of the day we got in an extremely hard fight with their best wolf riding warriors.
Day 18: The Cursed Woman
We found out that Woodeayhe has taken the meteorite to the bottom of her lair. Until now we the "people who live in strange houses" thought that these kind of creatures live only the native imagination, but now I know they are real. Adahy told me about Woodeayhe:
She was a beautiful woman that cheated on her boyfriend, but what she didn't know was that her boyfriend was the favorite son of "The Mother of the Snakes" who stole her beauty as a punishment. Now she has snake-like skin made of bronze. Her lower body is like the one of a snake, and she has snake heads growing from her back and arms. Her eyes can turn into wood whoever she wishes.
|Adahy||Native ranger/fighter, medium armor, and ranged weapons, best attributes are dexterity, constitution, and wisdom.|
|Sarah||Female rogue from the foreigners. Give her guns and ranks on disguise, bluff, and search. Charisma is her main attribute.|
|Fëanor||Barbarian/sorcerer, with melee weapons and leather armor. Racial traits as half elf variant.|
|Guildhelm||Cleric of knowledge, with expert levels. A mapmaking foreigner.|
|Diminutive||As Bat with the Vampire template. They attack in groups of 3d10 +5|
|Small||Raise the HD of the vampire bat a little with a d8 to reach a dog like level.They attack in groups of 2d6-1.|
|Almost Medium||Raise the HD of the vampire bat with 2d12 and a d8. This creature attacks alone.|
|Goblins||The usual goblin troops with the painted faces, drums and simple weapons. Give them the poison and trapmaking technologies.|
|Elite Warriors||Cast some druidic spells on them, raise their CR and give them smart mounts.|
|Woodeayhe||As Medusa with some changes (raise the power of the poison,change the Petrifying Gaze by "Wooden Gaze",etc)|
A sample adventure draft, to exemplify how to make an adventure,from here the DM can add more dangers, and misteries if he wants. --Angel Black 15:51, 17 January 2008 (MST)
More Campaign Options
Ditch the gunpowder and use only high level magic instead.Increase the number of wizards among the Foreigners, and set some Wand Factories to replace the gunfiring factors.
Add a valley populated by dinosaurs to your campaign.
Raise the level of technology available to allow space travel and add some alien species if you wish.
Gold found somewhere in native´s land, perhaps a holy mountain of a certain agressive tribe.