Best system / setting for a western game.


Other RPGs


I'm probably going to be wrapping up a shadowrun game in a couple of months, and when it's finished, I want to run either a swashbuckling game (with Freeport) or a western. Problem is that I do not currently have any good systems or setting for a western RPG, and I was wondering what your suggestions for this might be? I freaking love Cold Steel Reign, for anyone who is familiar, and would like to evoke something similar, but all my books for it are back in the US, and the system was never really completed.

Edit: Would prefer something that I could find affordably either here as a PDF or on Drive-thru-rpg, since I'm living in China and shipping is kinda tricky.


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I'm nostalgic for Boot Hill.... Boot Hill RPG PDF.

I'm not sure this is the best, but it's the only one I can think of.


Deadlands.


I had heard about deadlands. It looks like the newest edition uses the savage worlds system, which I do not have as-of-yet. What are the bare minimum books I would need to run a Deadlands game?

Also, Bluddwolf, thanks for the pdf! Pretty sure this is older than I am, but I'll check it out.


You can get all three needed books for Dead Lands as a bundle from Amazon for less than $50.

Includes: Marshal's Guide, Player's Guide,, and Savage World's Rules Guide


I think drive-thru rpg has the pdfs for those for 10 bucks a pop, but thanks!


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Just keep in mind with Deadlands that it's Weird West by default, with mad sciences and evil spirits and so on. Not a bad thing, it's actually an amazing game, but if you want to run a straight Western you'll need to remove some elements of it.

Other options (I don't know what availability for them is like, I just remember them, and I don't know what gameplay is like for some of them):

Aces & Eights - Alternate History western. I know it won the Origins Award for Best RPG of the Year in 2007, and got nominated for 4 ENnies, winning Silver for best game.

Dogs in the Vineyard - Based loosely on the Mormon State of Deseret (which was in pre-statehood Utah). Sounds like a weird concept, you play as "God's Watchdogs" who are like a combination of messengers, community support and travelling sheriffs (though your authority is within the church instead of government granted). Won Most Innovative Game and Indie RPG of the Year in the Indie Game Awards in 2004.

Werewolf: The Wild West - Old World of Darkness game that moves the setting for Werewolf to the Wild West. Pretty much the Werewolf version of Vampire: Dark Ages.


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Weird West isn't a bad thing for me. I'm on the lookout for a gritty, low-magic (but still with magic) western setting.


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martinaj wrote:
Weird West isn't a bad thing for me. I'm on the lookout for a gritty, low-magic (but still with magic) western setting.

Fair enough, I just didn't see any mention of whether magic was acceptable or not in your post so figured I should at least mention it. Deadlands is probably your best bet for those requirements then, I don't know that I'd call it low magic between all the different types (even the mad science stuff pretty much only functions due to a rather insidious form of magic, despite what the scientists may think), but it's definitely not Pathfinder/D&D levels of magic.


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Dogs in the Vineyard is an amazing game, but it doesn't do generic well. It does a certain kind of story, does it really well, but if you try to buck it and force it into something else, it can fall flat.


For a Western, I'd recommend Firefly RPG, as the system is amazing.

Setting doesn't have magic (it's technically a sci-fi) but Magic is an easy slice-in: it's simply a variant Signature Asset.

(I did a lot more than that myself, but it's exceptionally easy for magic to be "signatures asset+focus skill" with any ability score as your casting stay to create a warrior-mage/physical; a sorcerer-type/social, or a scholar Mage/mental.)


Tacticslion wrote:

For a Western, I'd recommend Firefly RPG, as the system is amazing.

Setting doesn't have magic (it's technically a sci-fi) but Magic is an easy slice-in: it's simply a variant Signature Asset.

(I did a lot more than that myself, but it's exceptionally easy for magic to be "signatures asset+focus skill" with any ability score as your casting stay to create a warrior-mage/physical; a sorcerer-type/social, or a scholar Mage/mental.)

That's Cortex system right? Don't know how I forgot that, I used to love the Firefly game I was in.


Yeah. The new system is called "Cortex+" which is a fancy way of saying, "We have a ton of different systems that bear a very striking passing resemblance to each other. I'm very enamoured of the Firefly one to the point that I'm using it as the basis for my (very magical and not at all Western/Scifi) drow game. I took the Distinctions system and designed a (set of) race distinction(s) and a build-your-own-class distinction system, and just let the final distinction come from the Core Rulebook (as long as it makes sense).

Daggum, I love this system.


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Not on topic, but Demon Hunters is something of a mashup of Cortex+ and Fate. It was designed by Cam Banks and Amanda Valentine. They both have done work at MWP on various Cortex games.


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Aces & Eights..


I'd second Aces and Eights


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I recently ran a decent Wild West type game using pathfinder rules. I set it in the Mana Waste, gave it lots of wild west overtones. Firearms and cannon were prevalent. It was fun while it lasted.

Scarab Sages

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While I can hardly argue with the recommended games (those of them that I know at all I know would do well for the game you described) I'd like to add All flesh must be eaten + A fistful of Zombies into the mix.

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