True 20 Wild West

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True 20 Wild West

Postby wolfpunk » Sun Nov 27, 2005 8:48 am

My wife would like to play a wild west campaign, and I think since it will be a solo campaign, that a rules-lite system would work best. Anyone tried something like that, or have any ideas on how to go about doing it?
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Postby Dragonspawn » Sun Nov 27, 2005 9:52 am

What specifically do you want help/advice with?

I have run a few solo games, and for me one of the biggest differences is that if the main character gets unlucky, or screws something up, then there isn't a whole party of 3-5 player characters there to catch them. The balance between how fast a solo character gains and looses conviction points will probably decide their fate on such occasions.

Also I'd say lay off on the uber-hard challenges. Everything is riskier when you are going solo merely for the above mentioned reasons. I would lean towards a roleplaying intensive campaign, where there is almost always an alternative to violence. When combat does occur, I would try to limit it to one-on ones with narrator characters of equal or lesser level (In the wild west this is easy, because that is how they tend to face off in their little shootouts at high noon etc). If the hero must face multiple opponents at once, make sure their enemies total levels do not exceed the hero's level, and give her plenty of opportunities to get tactical advantages (take cover, get higher ground etc.)

Also a solo character will be more reliant on a few trustworthy narrator characters to help them out when the dice don't fall their way.

If you are looking for gaming material/ideas I suggest checking out both Green Ronin's "Sidewinder: Recoiled", and WOTC's "D20 Past". Conversions of weapons and gear should be easy from either of those two books using the conversion appendix in the back of the True20 Adventure Roleplaying Game.

To enhance the flavor of a wild-west game I reccomend little additions like using poker chips to represent conviction points.

Maybe even give her a hand of six playing cards at the beginning of each adventure. Let her use numbered cards to give herself a bonus on her next die roll, a joker causes an opponent to fail their next die roll, An ace can be used for an automatic success, A jack to allow her to use a skill untrained as if she had that skill (a one-shot deal), A queen to automatically improve a narrator character's attitude towards her by one category, and a king to re-roll any failed die roll. Once a card is used it is discarded or shuffled back into the pile. Allow her to spend a conviction point to draw another card at random from the deck and place it in her hand. (This is all just a rough idea, so take it with a grain of salt and feel free to ignore it if it makes things to complicated)
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Postby wolfpunk » Mon Nov 28, 2005 4:51 pm

Thanks for the advice on running the solo campaign, that helps a ton. Those are great ideas, I love the ideas for the poker chips, my wife wants her character to be a gambler, so I was going to let her choose between playing cards or just rolling the dice when she goes to gamble.

I am working on converting the d20 past weapons, shouldn't be a problem.

Thanks for the help.
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Postby Dragonspawn » Tue Nov 29, 2005 6:01 pm

Now worries, I'm glad you found it helpful. :D

If you havent seen them already I would reccomend you watch (or re-watch) the following movies for inspiration:

"The Quick and the Dead"
"Desperado"
"Once Upon a Time in Mexico"
"Toumbstone"
"Young Guns"
"Young guns 2"
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Postby Bhikku » Tue Nov 29, 2005 7:27 pm

A slightly different use for poker cards: Use 'em instead of dice. Take a deck and remove all the face cards, then designate either red or black as having a "+10" to the face value. (you might come up with something to use the face-cards for, even - like if you draw a king, draw two cards and use one know, hold onto the other to use at any other time, even for a Conviction re-draw.)

That would make odds a little stranger, since you can only draw a given value twice before reshuffling.

I think using poker chips for Conviction points would be cool. You might rename Conviction to something a bit more Western-y like "Gumption" or "Guts" or something. There's probably a lot of ways you can tweak the terminology to give it a kind of dusty, weather-beaten feel.

As for genre material, I always recommend reading Eden Studios' sourcebooks for All Flesh Must Be Eaten; they have a Western sourcebook whose name I can't recall and am too lazy to look up. Even if you don't want to drag zombies in, those sourcebooks always give really good examinations of genres and subgenres.
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Postby wolfpunk » Sun Dec 04, 2005 9:18 am

Since most characters in a wild west setting will not be wearing armor. Do I need to consider using a scalable toughness save?
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Postby Dragonspawn » Sun Dec 04, 2005 2:22 pm

Its really up to you.

Personally I wouldn't because in the wild west it was supposed to be the fastest guy who shot his enemies down... not the guy who could survive the most bullet wounds.

You COULD remove the +5 cap for the great toughness feat to try and make up for lack of armor.
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Not Always.

Postby Spectral Knight » Mon Dec 05, 2005 5:01 pm

Dragonspawn wrote:Its really up to you.

Personally I wouldn't because in the wild west it was supposed to be the fastest guy who shot his enemies down... not the guy who could survive the most bullet wounds.

You COULD remove the +5 cap for the great toughness feat to try and make up for lack of armor.


The late Louis L'Amour made mention of a particular historical exception to that rule (though not as such) in one of his short story collections: Gabriel vs. Phy.

Joseph Phy and Pete Gabriel got along just fine until they chanced to run against each other for sheriff of a particular county whose name eludes me. Big mouths on both sides of the campaign egged the issue on, even after Gabriel won the election, and finally they simply had to have it out.

When they met in the street, Joe Phy drew more quickly, and shot extremely accurately. He emptied his five shots into Gabriel's chest, all of them inside the outline of his opponent's front shirt pocket.

Pete Gabriel, well known as a very tough man, fired only one shot, killing Phy, and walked away to live a number of years afterwards.

Worth noting as well was the advice of Wyatt Earp: "Take your time, but take your time quickly." Because of adrenaline, you'll be moving incredibly fast, but your accuracy won't be so good because of muscle tremors. Get yout weapon out, steady your aim, and THEN fire. Having six shots in a revolver doesn't mean much if you get a good yank out of the holster and then proceed to miss three times. If your opponent doesn't, it's likely you'll never get any more shots.

Personally, I would keep the escalating Toughness save bonus. There's more than one kind of combat in the Wild West, and sometimes you need more than speed to come out on top. Although you might adjust the scale so that the bonus advances more slowly. I've done this with a couple of games.
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Postby Spectral Knight » Fri Dec 09, 2005 10:05 pm

Bhikku wrote:As for genre material, I always recommend reading Eden Studios' sourcebooks for All Flesh Must Be Eaten; they have a Western sourcebook whose name I can't recall and am too lazy to look up. Even if you don't want to drag zombies in, those sourcebooks always give really good examinations of genres and subgenres.


The book's /Fistful O' Zombies/, written by Shane "Deadlands" Hensley. EXCELLENT resource for the genre, and even covers several genres of Western fiction, mostly inspired by the Big Screen, though there are a few original settings in there that are worth a look-over.
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