Wow, it's been a while since I talked about my fantasy-western setting, The Western Baronies. Some people asked me about it, so I'm putting up more new information about the setting, starting with the part of it that's the most sensitive to deal with.
You see, every western setting needs Indians to go with the cowboys. But making a caricature of real-world Native Americans is about as palatable as the way most Gothic-horror settings add in gypsies without thinking about the connection to the real-world Roma people. Still, it's tough to write about western expansionism without talking about the oppression and destruction of native peoples. As long as the analogues to Native Americans are portrayed as complex and deep rather than walking "red man" stereotypes, I think it's possible to write that sort of thing without offering offense to anyone--and to ask interesting questions about right and wrong in the context of imperialism.
As well, the Ko'Manna offer an intriguing opportunity to create a cross-cultural pollination that didn't occur on a large scale in the real world, with people from the imperial side joining the natives en masse. This also gave me the chance to add something to the setting that isn't seen often even in Western games set in some version of the real world: Mormons. That is to say, a religious group that has a strange and complicated relationship with both the imperialist side and the native side of the struggle, and isn't entirely accepted by either.
For some other interesting portrayals of this question, I thoroughly recommend Totems of the Dead for Savage Worlds and the excellent Dogs in the Vineyard.
With that said, here are the native folk of the land the invaders call Marikuhl...
Though they are widely regarded as the natives of the west, the Ko’Manna and their many tribes are more properly eastern folk, driven beyond the Corundum Mountains by the colonization of Galatea seven hundred years ago.
Originally, the Ko’Manna lived in the forested hills and low mountains of eastern Galatea. They had dwelled there since time immemorial—the Ko’Manna keep only verbal records of their history—and had learned to live in harmony with the land and its natural resources. Their technology was primitive by the most generous of standards, utilizing stone tools in their lifestyle of hunting and gathering. Most tribes subsisted on the land in a basic fashion, wandering across their territory and occasionally trading with other tribes. While tribes sometimes fought over resources, such conflicts never blossomed into anything that might be considered a war.
5 days ago