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View Full Version : DnD as a Western (Potential setting)



Eldan
2010-01-13, 05:53 AM
In one of the other threads, someone mentioned that DnD would make a lot more sense if it was seen as a kind of western-with-swords like setting more than a medieval like setting. The idea is rather intriguing, and I think something could be developed from this. A few ideas I had:

More than three hundred years ago, a mighty magocracy first developed a new and relatively economic system of travel, which allowed them to reach regions which were previously unaccessible. This could be planar travel, a new continent, even Spelljamming.

The newly accessible area, be it a continent or world, was inhabited by a people far behind the magocracy both technologically, and, more important, magically. They were swiftly subjugated, but only few permanent fortesses were established.

Settlers were however moved to the new area, to reduce overpopulation, for farming food for the homeland, to access important resources and to move criminals to special colonies.

The area is, for the greatest part, uninhabited. There are mostly small towns with a few hundred people, ruled by whatever authority came into power, sometimes legitimized by the central magocracy, sometimes not. The magocracy cares little about this, or the laws of the land, because most of the new area is simply unimportant to them. However, most of these local rulers use force to some extent, either in the form of magic, or from martial training. Most have small groups of mostly loyal thugs backing them.

For the greatest part, the people have enough to eat, some education and basic rights. The society is more advanced than medieval in certain areas, such as hygiene, education, human rights, while still on that level in others: most technology wasn't developed much past the medieval, and while magic can take it's place, it's rarely available here.

Outside the towns, there is mostly wilderness. Travelers prefer to pack arms, bodyguards and either travel alone or in large treks and caravans. The wild is dangerous, with threats from natives, monsters, ancient magic and the terrain itself.


What do people think? Could something good be made from this?

Kelb_Panthera
2010-01-13, 06:52 AM
Sounds pretty interesting to me. Maybe whip up a character modeled after a comanche or something.

Shazbot79
2010-01-13, 07:08 AM
Sounds pretty much like the implied Points of Light setting...only with plumbing and an "-ocracy"

Altair_the_Vexed
2010-01-13, 07:27 AM
In one of the other threads, someone mentioned that DnD would make a lot more sense if it was seen as a kind of western-with-swords like setting more than a medieval like setting. The idea is rather intriguing, and I think something could be developed from this. A few ideas I had:

More than three hundred years ago, a mighty magocracy first developed a new and relatively economic system of travel, which allowed them to reach regions which were previously unaccessible. This could be planar travel, a new continent, even Spelljamming.

The newly accessible area, be it a continent or world, was inhabited by a people far behind the magocracy both technologically, and, more important, magically. They were swiftly subjugated, but only few permanent fortesses were established.

Settlers were however moved to the new area, to reduce overpopulation, for farming food for the homeland, to access important resources and to move criminals to special colonies.

The area is, for the greatest part, uninhabited. There are mostly small towns with a few hundred people, ruled by whatever authority came into power, sometimes legitimized by the central magocracy, sometimes not. The magocracy cares little about this, or the laws of the land, because most of the new area is simply unimportant to them. However, most of these local rulers use force to some extent, either in the form of magic, or from martial training. Most have small groups of mostly loyal thugs backing them.

For the greatest part, the people have enough to eat, some education and basic rights. The society is more advanced than medieval in certain areas, such as hygiene, education, human rights, while still on that level in others: most technology wasn't developed much past the medieval, and while magic can take it's place, it's rarely available here.

Outside the towns, there is mostly wilderness. Travelers prefer to pack arms, bodyguards and either travel alone or in large treks and caravans. The wild is dangerous, with threats from natives, monsters, ancient magic and the terrain itself.


What do people think? Could something good be made from this?

This was (partly) the basis for the default D&D campaign with the Expert set in the 1980s.

Eldan
2010-01-13, 07:29 AM
I guess so. It's not really a new or original setting. The point of the thread and the post I^m refering to was:

"DnD doesn't make sense! There's no realism, verisimilitude!"
To which the answer was:
"Don't see it as a medieval setting, see it was a kind of western, but with swords instead of guns."

dsmiles
2010-01-13, 07:49 AM
Eldan, you should check out Bodged Together (http://www.bodgedtogether.com/) for a more true to form Western setting.

EDIT: Since reading the gunslinger and gunmage more closely, I have decided that they're better than the gunslinger I was working on and stopped posting to that thread.

GolemsVoice
2010-01-13, 07:53 AM
Makes a lot more sense for the usual D&D setting. Those with power use it (either to good or to bad), and those who gain power can change the course of history, if they only kill/influence the right people. Sounds like the average Western to me, only instead of McCarson's band of evil raiders, you have McCarthyugh's band of well, evil raiders, and instead of Jack the Gun, fighting to end the villain's hold on the town of Backwater, you have Jackalyan the Sword, trying to end the villain's hold on the town of Silverstar. Replace guns with swords and magic, sherrifs with paladins, saloons with taverns, and it fits!

Eldan
2010-01-13, 07:59 AM
Mhm. And all standard western storylines still work.

Guarding caravans, protecting towns from raiders, robbing banks, gold rush, duels at high noon...


Of course, instead of the cavalry you'd have teleporting mages. But both are never late!

Shademan
2010-01-13, 08:29 AM
Back in my country I tried to start up a D&D western game for my brother and his pals.
didnt go past planning, but yeah, it would be AWESOME

IonDragon
2010-01-13, 08:34 AM
This sounds almost exactly like the setting I'm playing in now. I'm afraid I can't link it because it's on Wave.

bosssmiley
2010-01-13, 08:55 AM
@Eldan: Sounds like a purdy standard D&D setting to me pardnah. :smallwink:

The D&D/westerns nexus is nothing new. They both follow the format of episodic picaresques with strongly iconic characters (usually loners, or members of a small gang) adventuring in a lawless frontier environment.

One of the characters in EGG's original campaign was a duster-and-stetson wearing bad-ass who wielded a brace of sixguns. Myrlynd IIRC... Heck, the 1E DMG even had a section on mixing TSR's Boot Hill RPG with AD&D.

It's absurdly easy to re-write Greyhawk as a thematically western setting: Great Kingdom = 'back east', South Province = secessionist south, Scarlet Brotherhood = Good Ole Boys/Klansmen, Paynim Lands/Wolf & Tiger Nomads/Rovers of the Barrens = 'Injun country', Nyr Dyv = The Great Lakes system, Greyhawk = Chicago, Tenh/Stonefist = Canada, etc...

Oh, and REH wrote cowboy stories as well as fantasy.

Telonius
2010-01-13, 10:50 AM
Sounds somewhat similar to what Deadlands did, though not explicitly alternate-history-ish. You might be able to incorporate some Rokugan material, too - Samurai mesh pretty well with the Old West, as fans of the Magnificent Seven can tell you.

Altair_the_Vexed
2010-01-13, 10:57 AM
What happens when you're PCs want to visit the Old World? Your newly acquired versimilitude falls back to base 1.

Just raising the point - you may well have thought of this already.

Mark Hall
2010-01-13, 04:45 PM
What happens when you're PCs want to visit the Old World? Your newly acquired versimilitude falls back to base 1.

Just raising the point - you may well have thought of this already.

The Old World is the Back East of Westerns, or the Central Planets of Firefly... it's where those with education and "breeding" come from, and where those who have a lot of money can go to get things otherwise unavailable. It is the seat of distant government, which folks on the frontier don't entirely trust. It might be a Tippyverse, but, for some reason, unable to export its magical technology effectively (maybe differing magical laws which make such things unfeasible?). It works in the civilized fashion, and so your Lord Bowler and Malcolm Reynolds characters stand out a bit... but can occasionally affect great change with their frontier values and/or stab first, ask questions eventually style.

Rixx
2010-01-13, 05:00 PM
Sounds like a good starting point for a setting! While many have said that it's not exactly a unique concept, with a little development it can become very distinctive.

Cheesegear
2010-01-13, 05:10 PM
What do people think? Could something good be made from this?

Iron Kingdoms? :smallconfused:

deuxhero
2010-01-13, 05:18 PM
Ditch the "with swords" part. It would be very odd for a western (or a mage run world for that matter) for people to use swords (and proper, nonmagic, guns would be an intresting setting piece)

Deth Muncher
2010-01-13, 05:38 PM
On the Firefly note, there's the Serenity RPG. Might not use it, but it'd be good to look into for ideas.