Frontier 5e – Campaign Setting Overview (Part 3)
This week we have the conclusion from Dale Easterling that looks at running a Wild West campaign for D&D 5e.
In the previous installment of the Frontier 5e Campaign Setting overview, I went into detail covering my homebrew mechanics for gambling, drinking, mass combat, and more. And now the conclusion of the review, with a bestiary sample, notes on poison and disease, and a preview of the inaugural Frontier campaign module – Dead Man’s Hand.
The life of the pioneer is as difficult as it is dangerous, and as potentially rewarding as it is beautiful. Besides the constant struggle against nature and the wide-open terrain, there are also wild animals and often wilder people to contend with.
The West is teeming with life and creatures of every form. From herds of bison on the plains to packs of wolves in the forest, the frontier can be an inspiring and dangerous place.
The following list of creatures can be found in Appendix A of the Monster Manual. They are listed here as an index and table for potential random encounters.
|3||Brown Bear||13||Riding Horse|
|5||Deer||15||Swarm of Insects|
|6||Eagle||16||Swarm of Rats|
|7||Elk||17||Swarm of Ravens|
|9||Jackal (Coyote)||19||Weasel (Ferret/Raccoon)|
One of the most iconic creatures to be found in the West is the massive bison, also called the buffalo by many. Bison are generally peaceful grazers, though they have been known to defend themselves fiercely and cause great destruction with their stampedes.
Armor Class 12 (natural armor)
Hit Points 76 (8d12+24)
Speed 40 ft.
Damage Resistances Cold, Bludgeoning
Senses passive Perception 10
Challenge 4 (1,100 XP)
Better Nose Than Eyes. The bison has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on smell, but disadvantage on checks that rely on eyesight.
Trampling Charge. If the bison moves at least 20 feet straight toward a creature and then hits it with a slam attack on the same turn, that target must succeed on a DC 12 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone. If the target is prone, the bison can make one stomp attack against it as a bonus action.
Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 feet., one target. Hit: 18 (3d8+5) bludgeoning damage.
Stomp. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 feet., one prone creature. Hit: 21 (3d10+5) piercing damage.
Nonheroic characters include everything from professional workers to petty criminals, law officers to native scouts. They lack the inclination or training to be heroes, but they are capable in their own fields. Skilled craftsmen, educated professors, and hard-working miners are all nonheroic characters, as is the local governor, the self-serving snake-oil salesman, and the gun-toting outlaw troublemaker.
The following list of creatures can be found in Appendix B of the Monster Manual as well as the Frontier Campaign Setting. Two are listed here, as well as a table for potential random encounters.
Armor Class 13
Hit Points 58 (9d8+18)
Speed 30 ft.
Skills Perception +2, Persuasion +4
Senses passive Perception 12
Challenge 3 (700 XP)
Morale. Allies within 30 feet of the commander have advantage against fear effects.
Delegate. As a bonus action, the commander can grant an action to an ally within 60 feet.
Short Sword. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 feet., one target. Hit: 8 (1d6+3) bludgeoning damage.
Rifle. Ranged Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, range 80/240, one target. Hit: 13 (2d10+3) piercing damage.
Armor Class 13
Hit Points 16 (3d8+3)
Speed 30 ft.
Skills Perception +3, Intimidation +2
Senses passive Perception 13
Challenge 1/2 (100 XP)
Trigger Finger. On a critical hit, the gunslinger can make an extra attack.
Multiattack. The gunslinger makes two revolver attacks.
Revolver. Ranged Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, range 40/120, one target. Hit: 7 (1d8+3) piercing damage.
Rifle. Ranged Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, range 80/240, one target. Hit: 8 (1d10+3) piercing damage.
POISONS AND DISEASES
Threats in the West don’t always come from bullets and arrows. Often it is the unseen that poses the most danger. Many creatures are venomous, able to kill a grown man with a single bite or sting. Harsh climates and crowded boomtowns foster diseases and ailments that cause boils, aches, or death. Treating these ailments is unfortunately both difficult and uncommon, and those who are capable of doing so come in high demand.
Characters of the Healer class can use their Healer’s Touch ability to treat poisons or diseases. Poisons and diseases have a certain number of Cure Points. These afflictions require healing equal to their Cure Points in order to be cured.
For example, Rattlesnake Venom has 10 Cure Points. It would then require 10 points of healing from the Healer’s Touch ability, spread out over multiple rounds, in order to cure it. If an affliction is partially cured but is left untreated for more than 1 minute (for poisons) or 1 day (for diseases), any progress toward curing the affliction is lost.
Dex Damage, Paralysis
Arsenic (Ingested). This is a deadly poison administered in pill or liquid form. A creature subjected to this poison must succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw, taking 1 Constitution ability damage every round. The creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effects on itself on a success.
Scorpion Sting (Injury). This poison is delivered by or extracted from scorpions. A creature subjected to this poison must succeed on a DC 12 Constitution saving throw or be poisoned for 1 minute. The poisoned creature is paralyzed and suffers 1 Dexterity ability damage per round. The creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effects on itself on a success.
When a character comes into contact with a diseased person, object, or hazard – such as fetid water or the home of a diseased person, they must make a Constitution save. The DC is dependent on the disease in question. Diseases take a certain number of days to manifest before any effects are suffered, listed until the Manifest column.
Once a disease manifests, the diseased creature ends its long rest suffering 1 level of exhaustion. After the next long rest, and every day thereafter, the creature makes another save. On a success, the disease is cured but the exhaustion levels remain. Exhaustion levels recover on their own at the rate of 1 level per day or long rest.
If a disease is treated with a Healer’s Healing Touch ability, one level of exhaustion is immediately recovered. The remaining levels, if any, must either recover naturally or be treated daily (at a maximum of 1 level per day).
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DEAD MAN’S HAND
Dakota Territory. 1872.
The gold that once birthed the boomtown of Red Gulch has begun to dry out. To keep pioneers in the city and invite in more, Mayor Ellis has called for a poker tournament with stakes too high for folks to pass up. On the second night of the tournament, however, a tavern girl screams as her drunken patron slumps over with a knife in his back. Over time, more and more residents and visitors – many of them participants in the tournament – end up six feet under. Can the remaining players and curious bystanders solve the mystery of Red Gulch before it’s too late?
ABOUT THE GUEST AUTHOR
Dale Easterling has been writing for nearly two decades and gaming for one. In 2015 he converged the two, writing and adapting campaign settings, storylines, and other supplements. His work can be found at: http://fedorable1.wixsite.com/btdpress