Content of the article: "Thinking About a More Frontier/Pirate Themed Setting"
I am wondering what sort of homebrew stuff one would need to enact to bring the game up to more of a mid 1700s technological level and kind of make it more about exploring a frontier or battles between pirates.
The idea would be that all of those old traditional races, for the most part, would be in some sort of "old world" and the focus would be on island port-towns that are fairly new and trying to break into continents that are mostly inhabited by Dragonkin and Giantkin.
Maybe some more savage-form of Dragonborn, Kobolds, Orcs and Ogres would be the "natural inhabitants" of the new continent that the other races are trying to create footholds in and, frankly, take over.
But races like Elves, Dwarfs, Goblinoids, humans, etc– they are all from some "old world" nation and maybe plenty of them still fly under the flags of those nations and are officially at war with one another– but for those who ended up making their way over to make their fortune or ended up becoming pirates, they all just sort of blended together. Even some of the denizens of the native tribes who are the survivors after being slaughtered by the nations muscling their way in and setting up colonies– they too ended up sort of moving into these growing independent communities.
I don't want to get too lost in the weeds with the exact ideas I have about how the history of the world could have come about, but I do kind of want to impose more of a gray morality upon all those old world nations– like maybe the Goblinoid nation is marginally more oppressive assholes, but the Elves aren't exactly sending their people to this new world with altruistic ideas nor being kind to the native inhabitants either. So if you have too high ideals and morals, you might want to be unaffiliated as possible with any of the colonial powers. And plenty from all of the nations do.
Maybe a number of the lesser goblins and the Bugbear slaves got loose from the Hobgoblins some years ago and have already kind of carved niches for themselves either living off the land or being bandits too.
Maybe there could be a continent of Beastmen too out there– so Gnolls, Rakshasha, Vanara, Naga, etc.– they come from a totally other land where a number of animals have been magically lifted up and become sentient and also come in on their own ships once in a while.
And, of course, at sea– the Sahugin and Lizardfolk and Bullgwogs already make themselves threats even before you hit the mainland and have to deal with the Orcs, Dragonborn, Ogres and such that are none-too-pleased with foreign invaders to their land and, after being shot at by the other foreign invaders, don't really care so much if you don't mean as much harm.
A few things that might be a bit difficult to change… using firearms is a must, though the versions in the DMG are clearly too superior to any other weapon, so I am thinking using Crossbow stats to represent them would be best.
A bigger issue is the class selections. As this wouldn't be a knights and crusaders type thing, Paladins and Clerics seem entirely out-of-place. Priests devoted to the Old World Gods should certainly be a thing– but certainly not heavy armored ones looking to violently impose their god on the world with the backing of their church– it should not be a functional requirement to have a Cleric Healbot in every single party or have no way to return to maximum hit points. The kind of priests I imagine would be fitting might be better represented by Bards who use sermons rather than musical instruments.
Wizards would also seem to be a bit out-of-place as while witches who use ancient, forbidden lore seem suitable– the idea that there would be fully organized colleges to teach "schools" of magic and markets that trade in all the various ingredients to cast magical spells– I just don't think the infrastructure for that should exist in a frontier land.
I feel like the importance of Ranger/Druids should be heavily increased if one desires to explore the mainland as this is a very wild land and it would be so easy to get lost without having someone along who knows how to navigate being in total wilds. However– I am not entirely sure how to go about doing this.
Has anyone done a setting like this? What are other snags one runs into when trying to take the D&D system that was designed for a particular setting and trying to adapt it for this other sort of setting?
- First time DM: Writers block after Session 1
- Help building the middle of a campaign
- Homebrew setting vs homebrew mechanics
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