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BRP Western


Kloster

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Hi,

As a sidetrack of this thread (http://basicroleplaying.com/forum/basic-roleplaying/263-ancient-history-3.html)

what do you think of a western setting for BRP?

Would it be playable or too deadly?

Would it be interesting?

Except for deadlands, I haven't seen a Western RPG for long. The ones that comes to mind for me are Boot Hill (TSR), Western Hero (Hero Games) and Wild West (FGU) and they are old quite ancient.

Runequestement votre,

Kloster

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Boot Hill was very deadly and great fun (I only played the 1st edition, but as I recall a head wound was automatically an 80% or 90% chance of death).

I actually think BRP is better suited to representing 19th century firearms technology than modern firearms (with all the different types of ammunition and armors and autofire etc.).

Great for a gritty western. Think Unforgiven or Deadwood.

Help kill a Trollkin here.

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what do you think of a western setting for BRP?

I would love to see one, but it would likely have to have some twist or supernatural element to make it more accessible to a player base today.

Would it be playable or too deadly?

It would be pretty deadly. I'd recommend using either the optional heroic HP rule from BRP or allowing fate points to lower damage. Otherwise, I see heroes dying mighty fast.

Would it be interesting?

See the above.

Except for deadlands, I haven't seen a Western RPG for long. The ones that comes to mind for me are Boot Hill (TSR), Western Hero (Hero Games) and Wild West (FGU) and they are old quite ancient.

There have actually been a half-dozen or so in the last three years.

Sidewinder: Reloaded
(a d20 variant from Green Ronin)

True 20 Wild West
(a d20 variant from Green Ronin)

OGL Wild West
(a d20 variant from Mongoose)

Aces & Eights
(from Kenzer & Co.) - a truly deluxe product in every sense of the word

On the indie game front, there are even more:

Dogs in the Vineyard
(from Lumpley Games)

vs. Outlaws
(a little minigame printed on a CD-book sized GM screen)

Coyote Gulch
(from Precis Intermedia)

Dust Devils
(by Chimera Collective)

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This came up on another thread. I can do the weapon conversions easy. If you want, I can do up a half dozen for you. I did up a conversion from Knuckleduster last week.

Swipe and adapt the Iaijutsu rules from RQ3 Land of the Ninja and you got rules for fast-draws. That's really about all you need, rules wise.

I'm with Jason on using Hero Points to mitigate the effects of combat a little. Many guns are doing !d10+ damage and characters don't wear armor.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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There's also a GURPS source book - GURPS Old West.

There have been some articles in Worlds of Cthulhu on Western CoC and there's a monograph (Night of the Kachina and other stories) set in the 1850's (in New Mexico IIRC).

I think there s a monograph in it - but I'm not sure it would attract enough interest to warrant a full book.

I remember suggesting (back in October 2002, on the RQ Rules list) that Chaosium should do a "Cowboy" world along side a rerelease of Worlds of Wonder. In fact, that post is quite ironic now: "...I hope they follow it [the 2002 reprint of the BRP pamphlet] up by re-releasing, in similar format, the components of Worlds of Wonder (Do Chaosium own the rights?) and then follow it up with further similar booklets on other genre's (Horror World, Spy World, Cowboy World). I think it would do quite well for them and would boost BRP in the market place, with out requiring the sort of large scale commitment that an extensive re-launch/re-write of BRP would need (and which is beyond Chaosium's scope I suspect)." :rolleyes:

Nick Middleton

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How does this look for a start?

Colt Peacemaker Model P

Caliber: .45 Colt

Base Chance: 20%

Damage: 1D10+2

Base Range: 25m

Ammo: 6

Hit Points: 9

Era Cost: $15

Malf: 97

Draw Speed: +0%, +0 DEX

Concealment: +0%

Reload: 5 MR (that includes ejecting empty casings, in a pinch can empty reload 1 bullet per MR)

Sharps "Big Fifty" Rifle

Caliber: 50-90

Base Chance: 20%

Damage:1D8+1D6+3

Base Range: 200m

Ammo: 1

Hit Points: 13

Era Cost: $30

Malf: 00

Draw Speed: -20%

Concealment: -20% (assuming a long enough coat to cover it)

Reload: 1/2 MR. Can fire and reload in the same round

Notes: Typically fitted with a Peep site for long range work. If taking precision aim, triple the base range.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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Guest the Bromgrev

I remember participating in a game set shortly after the civil war. We did a fair amount of research into the weapons of the time, and found that the game didn't have to be particularly deadly, even with RQ2 rules we used at the time. Yes it was that long ago. :eek:

Handguns in RPGs, probably inspired by Hollywood, are generally highly overrated. They are a means of comfortably carrying a weapon when you might need one. If you know you will need one, bring a rifle.

Handguns of the Wild West were short-ranged and low velocity. Before cartridges became common they were also slow to reload, so you either carried a lot of them or used your trusty Bowie knife and tomahawk when things got sticky. Gunshots were quite survivable if you got them treated and did the sensible thing - run away!

So, anyway, what I'm trying to say is that a Western game doesn't have to be character-deadly, even if you use hit location rules. Being shot in the arm or leg gives you a chance to think again. Treat it more like Cthulhu than RuneQuest, make it less combat-oriented and you could have a lot of fun in this type of game. Especially if you think more in the era of Last of the Mohicans or Karl May (German author) than The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. :cool:

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Handguns in RPGs, probably inspired by Hollywood, are generally highly overrated. They are a means of comfortably carrying a weapon when you might need one. If you know you will need one, bring a rifle.

Handguns of the Wild West were short-ranged and low velocity. Before cartridges became common they were also slow to reload, so you either carried a lot of them or used your trusty Bowie knife and tomahawk when things got sticky. Gunshots were quite survivable if you got them treated and did the sensible thing - run away!

I agree, but the last time I tired adjusting the damage values of weapons to reflect reality a lot of people didn't like it. Personally, I'd put the peacemaker down at the d8 range, and about the only real nasty damage doers would be the big guns like the "Big Fifty" and the Gatling Gun.

Plus, I'd throw in bleeding rules. Something as simple as 1 point per d10 minutes would work.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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...

There have actually been a half-dozen or so in the last three years.

Sidewinder: Reloaded
(a d20 variant from Green Ronin)

True 20 Wild West
(a d20 variant from Green Ronin)

OGL Wild West
(a d20 variant from Mongoose)

Aces & Eights
(from Kenzer & Co.) - a truly deluxe product in every sense of the word

On the indie game front, there are even more:

Dogs in the Vineyard
(from Lumpley Games)

vs. Outlaws
(a little minigame printed on a CD-book sized GM screen)

Coyote Gulch
(from Precis Intermedia)

Dust Devils
(by Chimera Collective)

As I have a quite severe allergy to D20, I don't check what is displayed in the few gamestores I visit. It's so not a surprise I've never heard of it.

For the others, I have to check. It can be interesting.

There are also a few french language produced amateur games (10000$ Reward, Western Parade).

Runequestement votre,

Kloster

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Personally, I always thought the best 'supernatural overlay' for a Western setting was that provided in Werewolf: The Wild West. Not the werewolves as PCs, as such, just the whole animist/spiritualist backstory.

If somebody wrote up a similar game for BRP, with a native american cosmological backstory in it and a sense of impending spiritual doom, and melencholy from the building of railroads, etc, then I think there'd be something good to work with right there. Deadlands was sort of like that too, but way too cartoony in feel. I'd like something feeling like Once Upon a Time in the West, or maybe a dash of The Wild Bunch in there too. That is, very stylised, but with a hint of impending death.

'Death of the West' as a theme, if you like.

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what do you think of a western setting for BRP?

Would it be playable or too deadly?

Would it be interesting?

The thought that comes to mind is, except for a weapons table and possibly some sample professions what is really needed? Are you talking about doing it up as a book, or what? For my view of such things it probably doesn't help that I could do a good job of winging it without any books other than the rules.

Alternative Western settings can also be interesting. I own the Player and GM books for Deadlands, have always been interested in the setting, but never tried running it. I was also a fan of Brisco County Jr. for about the first half of the season it was on (I was out to sea for the 2nd half).

I'm old enough that I was born at the end of America's Western craze, and have always been a huge fan of Westerns. It's probably my favorite genre after Sci-Fi.

Anyway, I think a Western setting would be playable. If one was published, I'd most likely buy it. I definitely think it would be an interesting setting, however, how hard would it be for those of us that would be interested in GMing it to find players interested in playing in such a game.

Zane

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Personally, I always thought the best 'supernatural overlay' for a Western setting was that provided in Werewolf: The Wild West. Not the werewolves as PCs, as such, just the whole animist/spiritualist backstory.

If somebody wrote up a similar game for BRP, with a native american cosmological backstory in it and a sense of impending spiritual doom, and melancholy from the building of railroads, etc, then I think there'd be something good to work with right there. Deadlands was sort of like that too, but way too cartoony in feel. I'd like something feeling like Once Upon a Time in the West, or maybe a dash of The Wild Bunch in there too. That is, very stylised, but with a hint of impending death.

'Death of the West' as a theme, if you like.

Now THAT, well written and a single book setting would make a STONKING BRP supplement. No exagerated steam punk, no clownish modern survival horror riffs (fun though they can be) - almost like Doug Anderson's "Septrionalis" (which morphed in to the less interesting Northern Crown from Atlas) a century later when the magic is dying or retreating from the Plains in the face of the encroaching Iron Roads and the white settlers... I'd buy it.

Cheers,

Nick Middleton

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I would love to see one, but it would likely have to have some twist or supernatural element to make it more accessible to a player base today.

...

This is exactly what I would not buy. I would be interested in either a realistic western setting, or in a version that allows to represent one of the categories of western movies (spaghetti, gritty, classical,...), but not a supernatural western. Perhaps I'm too old for the mainstream tastes.

Runequestement votre,

Kloster

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Have to agree with Kloster here. Western can work as a setting of its own. No need to make Cthulhu out of everything.

SGL.

Me three. I for one am not fond of taking a perfectly good setting and tossing in magic, etc. I don't mind it as an option, but would prefer the ability to game faithfully in the genre.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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About the same time Western Hero came out, ICE also published the Rolemaster version, Outlaws. Gunslingers was a comparatively recent Action! System product; unfortunately Gold Rush Games ran into difficulties soon after it was published and hasn't been able to follow up.

Don't forget FJ Gaming's Gunslingers and Gamblers. I downloaded it during Drive Thru RPG's Thanksgiving promo but haven't had a chance to review it yet.

I agree that the Western doesn't need to be tainted with horror to be enjoyable. Western Hero did a good job of reviewing the various cowboy sub-genres, including horror. But there's enough action-adventure in a pure Western setting to run a long campaign. Unfortunately, Deadlands is the only Western themed game in memory that has received any sort of product support. Most of the others have pretty much been one-shots (pun intended).

On the supernatural side of things, I'd prefer a game that captured the flavor of American folklore and tall tales. Paul Bunyan, Mike Fink, and Pecos Bill didn't tangle with European-style menaces such as vampires. They wrestled alligators and grizzly bears, battled swarms of giant mosquitoes, sought to tame rivers and cyclones that seemed to have human intelligence and orneriness. There were supernatural elements in folklore, but they took the form of demonic horses or sometimes the Devil himself in disguise.

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I'm a little surprised that no one has mentioned "The Good, the Bad, and the Utterly Insane" from "Worlds of Cthulhu" #2. Of course I myself forgot about it till after my last post. It offers professions and weapons, which I still say are the main thing you need for a Wild West BRP game.

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Guest the Bromgrev

I'd say one of the main benefits of a setting book is the background material. You can probably put it together yourself pretty easily, but it's much better to have all the information in a neat, RPG-oriented package. So, that includes maps, sample locations (typical small towns, farms, etc.), cultural and historical notes, technology (beyond weapons - transport, communication, medicine). There should certainly be enough for a decent-sized RPG book.

Re: Realistic weapons stats, it might help to make them more acceptable if it was pointed out to players that these work both ways - and chances are that the PCs, as in most RPGs, will be individually better-armed than the opposition. On balance, they keep PCs alive more than they make life difficult for them. There is also a different tone in Western-style play in my experience, in that it tends to be more 'first blood' than 'to the death'.

And I have add my vote in agreement with Kloster, I see no need to add supernatural elements to a Wild West setting.

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Have to agree with Kloster here. Western can work as a setting of its own. No need to make Cthulhu out of everything.

No need to make Cthulhu out of anything.

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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Guns of the Wild West era were fairly inaccurate. I remember seeing a cowboy series (film?) where there was a gunfight and everyone grabbed the womenfolk and kids and pulled them off the street because the fight was full of wild shots that smashed nearby windows.

So, I'd give handguns an Accuracy score/Penalty. You could even have a special gun that was less inaccurate than normal guns of that model.

As has been stated, you need professions, skills, weapons, but also equipment prices and travel costs (pre- and post-railroad).

If you wanted a mystical approach, then look no further than Kung Fu, a series that combined westerns and eastern mysticism quite nicely. You could also throw in Native American religion as well, if you wanted, for a more RQ-style take on magic.

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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I'd say one of the main benefits of a setting book is the background material. You can probably put it together yourself pretty easily, but it's much better to have all the information in a neat, RPG-oriented package. So, that includes maps, sample locations (typical small towns, farms, etc.), cultural and historical notes, technology (beyond weapons - transport, communication, medicine). There should certainly be enough for a decent-sized RPG book.

Re: Realistic weapons stats, it might help to make them more acceptable if it was pointed out to players that these work both ways - and chances are that the PCs, as in most RPGs, will be individually better-armed than the opposition. On balance, they keep PCs alive more than they make life difficult for them. There is also a different tone in Western-style play in my experience, in that it tends to be more 'first blood' than 'to the death'.

And I have add my vote in agreement with Kloster, I see no need to add supernatural elements to a Wild West setting.

This is exactly what I want.

Runequestement votre,

Kloster

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Guns of the Wild West era were fairly inaccurate. I remember seeing a cowboy series (film?) where there was a gunfight and everyone grabbed the womenfolk and kids and pulled them off the street because the fight was full of wild shots that smashed nearby windows.

So, I'd give handguns an Accuracy score/Penalty. You could even have a special gun that was less inaccurate than normal guns of that model.

As has been stated, you need professions, skills, weapons, but also equipment prices and travel costs (pre- and post-railroad).

If you wanted a mystical approach, then look no further than Kung Fu, a series that combined westerns and eastern mysticism quite nicely. You could also throw in Native American religion as well, if you wanted, for a more RQ-style take on magic.

Good ideas.

Runequestement votre,

Kloster

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