Into the West (Inactive)

Game Master Simeon

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"Gather round children, and I'll tell you a tale as old as it is true. That said, I never knew how old it was, but it's fine story nonetheless." The year is 1849, the Mexica-American War has just ended, the the American government has sent out a missive, looking for five brave citizens to explore the new territory ceded by the Mexica Federation. You have chosen to answer the call, starting in New Orleans, taking a route of your choosing out west to find fame and fortune, and hopefully not falling victim to the treacherous crossing. The west may hold countless opportunities, but only those who are brave, lucky, or stupid enough can take advantage of them.

The World and its Prominent Countries:

The United States of America: The development of the United States is rather different from our timeline, with the native peoples able to resist many European diseases and incursions with the help of much more powerful magic. The colonists were forced to integrate the natives or buy land, although the colonists were able to buy the Louisiana territory from France and significantly expanded their borders. Slavery was abolished shortly after independence, due to intervention by the freedom-loving azatas. Tales of the west tell of ancient cities built into cliff walls, vast open praries inhabited by fearsome drakes, an elven empire along the sea, and even more outlandish stories.

Mexica Federation: The story of the Mexica, or Aztec to the colonists, is very similar to those of the North American tribes. Spanish settlers arrived and intermingled with the Mexica, forming a unique mixed culture and language, eventually creating the Mexica Federation. Later, Spanish immigrants chose to go north of the Federation to New Mexica, Texas, and beyond, although they were still ultimately governed by the Federation.

The Northern Reaches: What we know as Canada was never fully colonized, with the inhabitants and environment proving too inhospitable. While the southern reigons are controlled by the British, the north is a different story. In the west, Inuits and tundra giants wage a consant war against frost giant invaders from the Siberia. In the northeastern reigons lies the domain of the orcs, maritime barbarians who raid coastal cities and inscribe powerful magics onto whale bone.

The World Beyond: Europe is caught up in a series of revolutions, all sparked by the success of the Americans. China is caught up in a series of battles with pirates, and the jade elves of Nihon continue their isolation.

Races:

Humans: The most populous race in the United States and Mexica, their ambition is unmatched by most other races.
Halflings: The second-most populous race in the United States, halflings hail from the green and gentle hills of Ireland, and came with them to the colonies. They have since taken to the lush rolling terrain of the Appalachian Mountains.
Half-Orcs: Generally found in the northernmost reigons, half-orcs are cast out from orcish society for being too human, and cast out of human society for being too orcish. Some take to the scrimshaw magic of their orcish parents, while others adopt human customs.
Elves: A rarity to the extreme in the the United States, elves are generally seen as myths by the common citizen. Elves are divided into two subsets, the jade elves of Nihon, and the gold elves found in scattered enclaves throughout the west.
Half-Elves: Slightly more common than their elven parents, half-elves are generally found in the frontier regions where gold elves and humans meet, or port cities where the occasional jade elves will leave the arcane splendour of Nihon.
Dwarves: Hailing from the mountain ranges of Europe and North Africa, dwarves are immigrants to the United States. They are valued in the newly developing industries for their ingenuity and talent for mining and metalworking.
Gnomes: Legends often tell of the little people, capricious tricksters who live where the boundaries between worlds grow thin. More times than not, gnomes are these tricksters, using their natural magic to vex unsuspecting humans. Most gnomes come to the cities for a change of pace and new experiences.
Other Races:
Orcs: Common in the far north, orcs are a persistent threat to settlers in the Northern Reaches. They are primarily known as savage raiders, but those who have spent time with them tell of other achievements. They are skilled shipbuilders and have created a unique arcane art known as scrimshaw magic, channeling magic into runes carved on whale bone.
Skinwalkers: Skinwalkers are common in Northern America. Many of them are descendants of werewolves, but the children of werecrocodiles can be found in the former Spanish colony of Florida and weretiger-kin are a minority among the Mexica.
Less-known races: Genie-kin are common in the Ottoman Empire, where genies are most often found. Some come to America to find new opportunities, as countless others have done. Dhampirs often hail from eastern Europe, the ancestral homeland of the nosoi vampires, although stranger heritages are said to exist. Fetchlings and catfolk sometimes migrate from southern Mexica, and goblinoids occasionally swarm out of the vast Mammoth Cave system.

Religion:

Faith of the Cross: The most common religion in the United States and Europe: LN: Domains: Community, Healing, Law, Nobility, Protection: Subdomains: Family, Restoration, Loyalty, Martyr, Purity: Favored Weapon: Longsword

Faith of the Crescent: The most common religion in the Ottoman Empire and parts of Asia and Africa: LN: Domains: Community, Glory, Law, War, Protection: Subdomains: Education, Honor, Judgment, Defense, Tactics: Favored Weapon: Scimitar

Great Mystery: A common god to find among native tribes of the northwest and the Great Plains: N: Domains: Air, Animal, Earth, Plant, Water: Subdomains: Wind, Fur, Feather, Growth, Flowing: Favored Weapon: Longbow

Coyote: A wide-spread trickster god, who may have taught mankind the secret of fire: CN: Domains: Chaos, Fire, Luck, Travel, Trickery: Subdomains: Entropy, Smoke, Imagination, Exploration, Deception: Favored Weapon: Quarterstaff

Quetzalcoatl: Commonly found throughout the Mexica Federation, this god is worshipped throughout the southern native world: N: Domains: Air, Knowledge, Magic, Scalykind, Weather: Subdomains: Wind, Arcane, Divine, Dragon, Storms: Favored Weapon: Macuahuitl (use stats for a terbutje)

Huitzilopochtli: Patron god of Tenochtitlan, the leader of the Mexica Federation: CN: Domains: Destruction, Fire, Glory, Sun, War: Subdomains: Rage, Arson, Heroism, Light, Blood: Favored Weapon: Great Macuahuitl (use stats for great terbutje)

Casters who use domains may also pick domains that are not diametrically opposed (i.e. evil/good, fire/water) if there is no deity that represents them or they follow a less prominent god.

Character Creation:

The rules for creation are fairly standard, 20 point buy, max health at 1st level and half health after that. Background skills will be used. If there's a Golarion-specific feat or archetype, ask me about it and we can work something out. Players can pick two traits, but one must be from the list below. A backstory will vastly increase chances of getting in. It doesn't need to be some epic tale but more than just a few sentences. All races referenced in the "Races" section are allowed, although the rarer the race the better the explanation should be. All classes are allowed, although classes such as the ninja or samurai would need a good reason to explore for the American government.
Traits:
Hardened Veteran:
Your service in the Mexica-American war has hardened you and made you better at getting back up after you've been knocked down. You get a bonus to stabilise equal to half your class level and can stand up from being prone as a swift action.
Debutante: You use your natural skills with people to judge their intentions, using your charisma modifier in place of your wisdom for sense motive and gaining a +1 to diplomacy, bluff, or intimidate.
Explorer:
Whether a hunter, a prospector, or simply a restless soul, you have spent much of your time in the great outdoors. You gain a +1 to survival and knowledge (nature) and one of those is considered a class skill.
Faithful:
You are intensely faithful in the religion you follow. You gain a +1 on knowledge (religion). Additionally, whenever you channel energy or cast a cure/inflict spell, you add an extra point of damaged healed or dealt based on the type of energy.
Scholastic:
You have studied at prestigious academies or have much acquired knowledge on a few topics. Choose one knowledge skill, in which you gain a +1 and they become class skills. Your spellcasting stat is also considered one higher for the purposes of calculating extra spells.


Interesting premise, consider this a dot while I wait for your answer on the obligatory question for any "modern" setting using Pathfinder...
What are the firearms rules and rarity?

Also, I guess so, but is the starting level 1st or higher?


Characters will be created at 4th level, and we will use commonplace guns rules.


Dotting for interest.


I love the concept (my undergrad is in Archaeology-Old West so) would love to submit a character... amateur archaeologist wanting to make a name for himself.

Question:
VMC?


Perfect! This still arises a couple questions regarding firearms -you must see some kind of path regarding what I'm probably submitting-.

I know for a fact taht Revolcers were used extensively during and after the Mexican-American War, but Commonplace Guns means early firearms are cheap and easily available yet Advanced ones like my favourite revolver are full-priced and rarities.

Should we follow the Commonplace Guns rules as written or is there a DM statement on the matter of six shooters?

Next question! I figure that historical figures, even if minor or only barely known, are out of the table as Player Characters... but can we use them as the classic NPCs we mention on our backgrounds?

And last question: Trench Fighter archetype? Yes alright? No it's too good? Whatever the answer, I'd be okay with it.

Edit: Forgot a question: if we are to pay full price for advanced firearms, would pregame crafting for them be allowed? That's it, assuming we can build them taking 10.


Would you consider third party content? I've got an idea forming for an Eldritch gunner of some sort, using Avowed as a base class, using mostly the Aether Rounds shape through a pistol or longarm of undecided type.


choyakuyama:
On the subject of VMC, I'll allow it so long as it's a reasonable combination of classes, for instance something like ranger and rogue would work but something like gunslinger and summoner would be off the table.
EmmisaryOfTheNorth:
For firearms, the price reduction will apply to all firearms, but the rules from commonplace guns will be applied. Trench fighter is definitely too powerful. Your assessment is correct that historical figures are out of the picture as characters. Besides, if you play your cards right you'll end up a historical figure. In any case, you can indeed mention them in backgrounds if you wish.
Joseph Soltz:
I won't be allowing third party, with the exception of the moonshiner and ructioneer archetypes from Pure Steam.

Liberty's Edge

Very interesting; sounds fun. I will see what I can come up with.


Dotting....

I'm thinking a former teacher (Investigator maybe?) turned Musket Master Gunslinger after his family died.


Dotting: I must admit I'm intrigued, a couple of characters ideas come to mind.

Let me ask; Are you using Background Skills. Would you considered using Automatic Bonus Progression? How long will you keep recruitment open?


Working on a Halfling rogue / gunslinger. Started as an Irish trapper in the Blue Ridge mountains, joined the army and became a marksman. Served during the war, now finds himself in need of a purpose.


We will be using background skills, but not automatic bonus progression. I'll keep recruitment open until the 29th.


I'm envisioning a human moonshiner who is a veteran of the war. While he had learned to use alcohol to enhance his skills, he also uses it to cope with his memories of the war.


Dotting In. My love for Hell On Wheels and Deadwood makes me very interested.

My first impulse is an Irish Brawler, of course those would be my real life ancestors/ :)

How are you going to be handling initiative? I don't want to take reactionary if doing block initiative.


A not over tall, but wide, Irishman, exits a saloon he use to run with his, now missing a tooth, brother.

"Ok boy'o's John Thomas is coming to the west it be seeming. Best not get to much in my way."

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

This sounds very interesting! I do have a couple of questions, though.

How long were you envisioning the scope of this campaign to be? A module? A handful of modules? An entire Adventure Path? Continuous until we've all agreed that we've reached a satisfying end? As much as this concept is intriguing, I need to carefully consider what I can commit to, time-wise.

Another question about scope: it sounds like the premise of this game is largely about exploration. Is it going to be essentially a sandbox campaign of exploring unknown territory (and reporting to our patron government)? The way you've put it makes it sound like: insofar as there's a spectrum between sandbox and railroad, it's all the way on the sandbox end. Would you say that's true? If not, what were you thinking?

Lastly (for now at least), what parts of this alternate Earth are alternate? In other words, you've laid out that this is essentially Earth, but with magic and fantasy races and such, as well as with some different outcomes of historical events. But there are some things that you've left out that I'm curious about too. For instance, to what extent do you intend or expect for this game to tackle issues of race, gender, and imperialism? Slavery was outlawed, but does racial tension and institutionalized white supremacy still thrive? How does that interact with the fantasy "races?" What does it look like to play a woman in this game? If I played a woman, would she be respected equally and have the same rights as her male peers? Is it a strange exception for the American government to grant her whatever authority will be granted to these westward explorers? Are any of these issues things you want to explore, or is part of the fantasy of the game glossing over those things to focus on fighting monsters and exploring a dangerous land?


John Thomas O'Hanallon wrote:
A not over tall, but wide, Irishman, exits a saloon he use to run with his, now missing a tooth, brother.
GM Coyote wrote:

Halflings: The second-most populous race in the United States, halflings hail from the green and gentle hills of Ireland, and came with them to the colonies. They have since taken to the lush rolling terrain of the Appalachian Mountains.

LOL, Just how wide and how tall is that Hobbit GM Red Box?


Robert Henry wrote:
LOL, Just how wide and how tall is that Hobbit GM Red Box?

Well i missed that little detail of the irish being halflings. Lets see if I can make that work although it is rough.


1849 America is a thorny time period for racial issues. Will racism, systemic or otherwise, be addressed in this campaign? How does racism, or even slavery for that matter, fit into an America with a wide array of literally different races?


@John Thomas: I think it says that both humans and halflings came from Ireland.


On the subject of racism and sexism, it does exist in parts of the populace, as it unfortunately always has, but they are far less prevalent than they were back then. However, due to most of the game taking place outside of the United States in unexplored territory, those subjects will not come up much. The game will be on the more sandbox end of things. Players will be given a rough route to follow, but beyond that the twists and turns will be up to the players. It will be roughly the length of a module.


Interesting... I'll have to see if I can afford to get in another game. :D


GM: You state halflings come from Ireland, is it only halflings?

Dark Archive

I think in my humble opinion, Dwarves are German/Nordic (or a mix of both, could be two subsets, like Gold Dwarves and Shield dwarves.)

Anyways, A werecroc skinwalker is an interesting idea... Hmm...

Possibly playing a Myan/Native American Shawman sort of deal, using Summoner as my class and my eidolon as a Spirit Animal.

And I'm using Catfolk as my race, to help make the Myan thing stick

Grand Lodge

William here with my Native Summoner(Don't worry he's Unchained) And his Eidolon Ixen, a Catlike Flame Spirit. My goal will be to give Machu a Rifle, and go for an old fashioned Native American warrior, even if he's from The Aztec Mexica. He's a follower of old tradition yet is an explorer. He's currently on a Spirit Quest (Yes... I know he already found his spirit in Ixen,) but after finding his spirit feels there is more to it than what he first thought.

And was there anything on Background skills?


@Gm Coyote:
Two questions now.
1. Is Ireland halfling only? I will have to rethink if it is.
2. Starting wealth?

Liberty's Edge

Yes, the GM said we *will* be using background skills. :)


I've got a incredibly rough idea for a pipe smoking pacifist caster, using nonlethal cloud/smoke spells when he isn't casting something like a buff or a cure. Tentatively, a witch of some sort, but I haven't yet had an opportunity to really look at anything. Perhaps tomorrow I can sit down and do so!


This seems like a good setting to play a cavalier in. A dune drifter fits right in with the technology and tactics of the time period.


hhhmmmmm, since William is going native and John is going Irish, I was thinking a halfbreed or a Scot-Irish from Appalachia I will stick with my third idea and go with a 'Texas Ranger.' Or should I say 'Texican' and if not a ranger at least a 'slayer' hhhmmmm or an inquisitor...

GM Coyote, you mentioned Azata's in your introduction as those who intervened against slavery. Where would you be at on an Azata-blooded aasimar scion of humanity?

He would have joined the rangers to fight against any aboriginals who were taking settlers as slaves to sell across the border. Once the war was over he would use his talents to help with the discovery of the new territory.

It might add a nice wrinkle/foil to Williams 'Mexica native' summoner.


When is recruitment closing?

Grand Lodge

Robert Henry wrote:

hhhmmmmm, since William is going native and John is going Irish, I was thinking a halfbreed or a Scot-Irish from Appalachia I will stick with my third idea and go with a 'Texas Ranger.' Or should I say 'Texican' and if not a ranger at least a 'slayer' hhhmmmm or an inquisitor...

...(stuff)
It might add a nice wrinkle/foil to Williams 'Mexica native' summoner.

Kemosabe, you must be very careful... These lands are full of Dangerous tribes!

ah... Good old Lone Ranger...

Oh, one question, what's Starting Gold/Money?

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

GM said recruitment is open until the 29th.


Okay, here is my submission. I started out making a Skinwalker Shaman, and there were cool things about that combination, but I got bogged down and it just wasn't working (I never realized how hard the Skinwalker race is to work with--an ability bonus that you can only use sometimes? Yikes.)

Anyway, so I switched to something more conventional: Elven ranger, but she has some fun quirks that should make it interesting, even so.

I still have to work on equipment and my animal companion (probably a bird, but not sure), but I think the rest is done.

Background:

Zaranna is a normal Elven Ranger in most respects, and values her Elven heritage and her community. However, her parents were killed by a dragon when she was an adolescent (she was with them, but barely survived--a survivor's ring would make a good storyline item, if allowed), and she kind of comes unhinged on the subject of dragons. She is obsessed with the subject, has studied dragons intensely, has made notes on all of the dragon equipment she has heard of, and imagines what else she could make. She wants desperately to kill the dragon that killed her parents (she knows what kind it is, but I am not certain what that would be in this setting, so GM help on that detail would be appreciated), and has worked to become the kind of person that could do that.

She is still sort of young by Elven standards, but this opportunity came up to go out and represent the tribe--basically make sure the other races aren't ruining the world, and that the Elves have a stake in the future of the land (less isolationist than some other tribes)--and it wasn't a really popular assignment, but she wanted to go, thinking she might be able to get some dragon hunting experience.

While she is good at keeping her head in other situations, she definitely has a weakness when it comes to the subject of dragons, and would probably bankrupt herself or overextend in other ways to get good anti-dragon equipment or anything that would assist her in completing her quest. She intellectually knows that there are good dragons, but I have no confidence that she would be able to control her instinctive hatred and not attack when faced with any dragon at all.

That's in the alias as well, but thought you would want it up front.
Let me know if there are any GM notes or advice. Totally willing to adjust to fit the setting.


John Thomas:
Ireland is home to both humans and halflings. Starting wealth will be the average for 4th level.
Robert Henry:
An azata-blooded aasimar would fit with America, especially a scion of humanity. While azata are fairly rare during the time the game is set, when America became independent several powerful azata showed up to make sure freedom and democracy were safeguarded, and were later immortalized in American folklore as Uncle Sam and Columbia.
Zaranna:
Looks quite good. Assuming your character is a gold elf, who are found in North America, a drake would be more common than a dragon. The type of drake would depend on where Zaranna is from, but the common types in the east are forest and river drakes.


I can't seem to get any ideas to stick around that I can really get behind for a character. I'll keep the game in mind, but I don't foresee myself managing to get a concept up and running, at this time.


This sounds like a lot of fun :)

I grew up watching Eastwood films with my dad so this is very appealing, especially the way it's been shuffled together with the PF mythos!

GM, would you consider allowing inquisitors to have firearms proficiency instead of hand/repeating crossbows?

All good if not, exploring several options :D


@Fiendish Zen. There's a firearms domain for inquisitors


Dotting to follow this one, very intriguing...


Ah thanks for mentioning Jubal Breakbottle :)

I'm aware of the black powder inquisition but was asking about weapon proficiencies as looking at an archetype that replaces domain, and figured guns would be more prolific than crossbows in the time the game is set!


Fiendish Zen:
That's reasonable. You may choose either crossbows or firearms to be proficient in. Guns are indeed quite prolific, although a few slightly mad inquisitors might opt to use crossbows.


GM Coyote said wrote:

Zaranna:

Looks quite good. Assuming your character is a gold elf, who are found in North America, a drake would be more common than a dragon. The type of drake would depend on where Zaranna is from, but the common types in the east are forest and river drakes.

Okay. I'll change the Dragon Hunter template to Drake Hunter, flavor only. :)

As to where she is from... your intro on the Gold Elves said that they live in scattered enclaves throughout the West. I was thinking coastal, like California/Oregon/Washington or even Gulf of Mexico area (she has a trident for a melee weapon, but I didn't go all the way to Aquatic Elf and make her able to breathe underwater). She would have had to travel to get to New Orleans to join the journey, but (at least in our history) there were already people out that far... it was the pioneer era, and the gold rush around that time as well I believe.

However, I don't know your world, and I know you said that the American government is asking for the volunteers, so that might not make sense. And I wasn't really sure what Gold Elves were like... they could be kind of pro-forest anti-water. So, does a west coast elf make sense for your world? And are there different Drakes down that way, if it does make sense?

If west coast doesn't make sense, maybe she is from a tribe in the same area as the starting place for the expedition, which is why they decided to send someone? :)


I wanted to see what we had so far, this was the simplest way of doing that...

In order off appearance I assume they are all dots...
EmissaryOfTheNorth;
Warsor:
choyakuyama:
Joseph Soltz: a pipe smoking pacifist caster, using nonlethal cloud/smoke spells when he isn't casting something like a buff or a cure. Tentatively, a witch of some sort,
Zanbabe: Zaranna Golden Elf, Drake Hunter Skirmisher
Arknight: a former teacher (Investigator maybe?) turned Musket Master Gunslinger after his family died.
Robert Henry: Texican' human or Aasimar and if not a ranger at least a 'slayer' hhhmmmm or an inquisitor...
wanderer82: Halfling rogue / gunslinger. Started as an Irish trapper in the Blue Ridge mountains, joined the army and became a marksman....now finds himself in need of a purpose.
"The Lucky Halfling": a human moonshiner who is a veteran of the war. While he had learned to use alcohol to enhance his skills...
GM Red Box:
John Thomas O'Hanallon Male human brawler 4 - CR 3
mechaPoet:
Himyulmaion:
Almonihah:
william Nightmoon: Machu Whitetail a Myan/Native American Shawman
dronedog:
Jubal Breakbottle:
Fiendish Zen: Eastwood based Inquisitor Sorry F Z, I couldn't resist :-)
Swashbucklersdc:


too cool not to at least dot. I'll see about a good concept later.


Zaranna:
Gold elves are much more numerous in the west, but they can also be found scattered throughout the United States. I'd imagine there are a few enclaves along the Gulf of Mexico, which Zaranna could've been part of. River drakes can be found in the Mississippi River delta, so that could be a possible origin.
Robert Henry:
Thanks for getting down all of the dots and characters!


Arrgh, so many Ideas. A highlander raised in the old clan ways, a native half elf wishing to explore his estranged homeland, a desperado catfolk born by brazilian parents but raised in texas.... I CANT DECIDE AND MORE IDEAS KEEP COMING


I think you should do the half-elf so I am not the only pointy-eared person around. :)

Grand Lodge

GM Coyote wrote:

Fiendish Zen:

That's reasonable. You may choose either crossbows or firearms to be proficient in. Guns are indeed quite prolific, although a few slightly mad inquisitors might opt to use crossbows.

I'll have you know that people in modern times use crossbow, infact we have clip fed crossbow that work pretty well! They are easy to reload, silent, and very effective.

Anyways, Machu is Finished(Mostly)


EmissaryOfTheNorth wrote:
I know for a fact taht Revolcers were used extensively during and after the Mexican-American War

If I may make a quick suggestion, I'd like to add just a bit of context. In our proposed timeperiod, the nicest pistols around were Colt Army Dragoon revolvers. While they were much nicer than flintlocks, they were still cap and ball and Muzzle loaded. Complete metal cartridges would not be around for another fifty years, at least not in pistols. the six shots is convenient, but also takes a long while to load, as spring fitted cylinders were not there either. Perhaps you might take this into account when thinking about what guns are available at what price, and what action or actions are required to load a real revolver at the time.

EDIT: Actually Smith and Wesson would start production of rear loaded cartridge pistols in 1857, but they remained fairly rare due to price and production time. Most people still favored single shot pocket pistols during this time if you weren't in the army.

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