View Full Version : Suggestions for Homebrewed Fantasy Western Setting?

2008-08-01, 08:02 PM
So, the school year is fast approaching, and I have it in my head to set my players down in a High-Fantasy Western setting...but I'm looking for input and ideas.

The conceit is alternate history, I think: magic was real, but now it's almost been entirely destroyed. Rome still exists, a great and powerful nation that never fell and now holds colonies throughout Europe and Africa. Britain resisted Roman occupation well into the 1200s until finally becoming a grudging Roman tribute-state. The cult of Jupiter Invictis, a strange admixture of Roman pantheism and sun-worshiping monotheism, has served as the guiding power of the world, and so great is its sway now and the swelling number of its adherents that their divine magic has almost achieved a monopoly on the supernatural.

It seems that the West is the only bastion left: the Roman Colonies in the East have faced almost universal trouble in mounting a true Western migration. Just as any given push for migration begins, the edge of the frontier will fill with flame, rivers swell to uncrossable torrents, and the very ground itself crumbles under wagon wheels. A single train route has been established, though the constant repairs required make more than a handfull of trips every year a miserable impossibility.

The West itself seems to be a more arcane place: the natives wield powerful shamanic magic under the light of the moon, and immigrants from the Orient bring with them the magic of ensorcelled black powder and lost arcane secrets. Even here in the untouched beauty of these wild lands, though, the Cult of Jupiter-Invictus has found purchase: the light of the sun burns away other magics, both native and foreign, and lawmen and messiahs wander the godless barrens.

...So, is that too much, you think, or does it give a nice backbone to build off of? This model would eventually include a number of new Prestige Classes, magic items, gun weaponry...the biggest change probably comes from the restriction on magic: daylight literally burns away any magic that isn't from Jupiter-Invictus. How does one balance casters in such a world? I had also considered playing up the Sublime Way as native fighting styles that were never "tamed" by the Romans, and giving them an exemption from the magic-burning-sunlight, but I was afraid that playing up martial combat would be a deterrent to gunplay, which is admittedly a big part of the genre.

2008-08-01, 11:40 PM
I can't give you any specifics, but there are several places I know of you can use for inspiration (for both campaign ideas and the general "feel" of the setting).

-The Dustlands (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=46752) - a fantasy western setting created here in the Playground.
-Deadlands (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deadlands) - Wikipedia says it's a genre-bending combination of Western, Fantasy, Horror, Steampunk, and stuff. Sounds good to me.
-Stephen King's Dark Tower series and related media - Check out the first couple of books (The Gunslinger and such) and the two Dark Tower comic series
-The Twilight Zone - I can think of at least one or two old episodes that are "Wild West" themed but very much fantastical in nature. You can probably find 'em on Wikipedia and maybe YouTube or something.
-Old Westerns - See The Magnificent Seven; The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly; 3:10 to Yuma; and stuff like that for some cool adventure ideas.
-The XCrawl d20/D&D Setting - It's not Western at all, but it's got a very similar setting history: it's basically the real world, but with monsters and magic, and the Roman Pantheon is still the dominant religion. You may can get some ideas from there if you really need some.

EDIT: There's also an RPG called "Gunslingers & Gamblers" that's strictly Western (i.e., no fantasy or anything) that you could look into depending on how Western you want the setting. It also has a lot of names and stuff you can steal commandeer. (And more importantly, it uses poker dice (http://www.drinkstuff.com/productimg/21943.jpg)!)

2008-08-01, 11:55 PM
There are two versions of deadlands. The origional that used a deck of cards to cast hexess (spells), and the D20 version. If you want to stick to somthing familare get the D20. But honestely the origional is much more colerful and fun. Check out amazon for it.

2008-08-03, 12:32 PM
The newest edition of Deadlands is based on the savage worlds system
http://www.savageworldsonline.net/ (http://www.savageworldsonline.net//) wich is a exelent system and is made to be adaptable.

Deadlands reloaded, is a very good campaign book packed with tasty fluff and rules. It is more of a horror campaign than anything, but as with anything using savage worlds you can adapt it pretty easily.
Also, it has rules for mystical martial arts, but guns are still lethal.