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Author Topic: Straightforward Western RPGs  (Read 4984 times)

Matt

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Straightforward Western RPGs
« on: December 25, 2014, 12:37:46 am »
So I'd like to get my friends to play a Western RPG as a break from our AD&D game as I'm not all that into fantasy anyway. I used to have Aces & Eights but found it was too rules-heavy for me and wasted too many pages on its alternate history setting for me. Traded A&8s away for some Traveller stuff. Loved the shot clock but damned if I couldbe bothered with so many rules and I prefer to set such games in the "real world" Old West (as in no zombies or magic Injuns or "the Confederacy won" and such, more like a good Louis L'Amour tale). The only Western RPG I have now is 3rd Ed Boot Hill. I like it find but was wondering if there are any others I should check out? My main criteria are that the game should be fairly easy for a player to create a character and walk right into the saloon and start adventuring and I don't want to deal with "fantasy Western" or soi-disant "Weird West" stuff that has to be extracted from the game to play in a more real setting. Oh, and please don't suggest any "universal systems" like GURPS, Hero, or Savage Worlds as I personally just want a Western game; I don't want to have to tailor my own game from a toolkit. And very important to me is I want an actual book, not a PDF as my eyes can't take it. Any good ones out there? Is non-fantastic Western a tall order?

Happy trails!
« Last Edit: December 25, 2014, 12:40:03 am by Matt »

The_Shadow

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Straightforward Western RPGs
« Reply #1 on: December 25, 2014, 02:21:26 am »
You've ruled out all of the obvious candidates.

But there is Dark City Games' free Untamed West (pdf link). It's a very rules-light game based on the classic Fantasy Trip engine. You can definitely use it start play quickly and wade into a gunfight with tactical use of miniatures, and there is a solitaire module available.

edit: so you want a printed book only? Picky picky.
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Omega

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Straightforward Western RPGs
« Reply #2 on: December 25, 2014, 05:45:14 am »
I liked 1e Boot Hill and to a lesser degree 2e. Plays pretty well really though 1e is mostly a skirmish wargame rather than an RPG.

I will second Legends of the Untamed West as at least worth a glance over as it is a free rules system. The solo adventures are the not-free part.

I just finished playetsting a co-op board game version of Blackwater Gulch, which is a pretty good western themed skirmish game. Heres the old Kickstarter page Blackwater Gulch Unfortunately parts of their site are DOA.

If you like the Action system. Gold Rush Games is still selling
Gunslingers as a PDF for 2$.

Vonn

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Straightforward Western RPGs
« Reply #3 on: December 25, 2014, 06:29:51 am »
As you're already familiar with AD&D one of the d20/D&D derivatives could be up your alley:

- Go fer yer Gun!
- Blood & Bullets
- OGL Wild West

For something else:

- Coyote Trail; simple, but deadly system from Precis Intermedia
- Wild West from FGU; free online, early 80s RPG which I'm not familiar with though

Personally I would go for Coyote Trail; it's something fresh, different and easy to use.
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finarvyn

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Straightforward Western RPGs
« Reply #4 on: December 25, 2014, 07:23:50 am »
I'm a big fan of western RPGs and have quite a few on my shelf.
Quote from: Omega;806007
I liked 1e Boot Hill and to a lesser degree 2e. Plays pretty well really though 1e is mostly a skirmish wargame rather than an RPG.
Boot Hill is my go-to western RPG. I have 1E, 2E, and 3E and find all to be fine games. 1E is my favorite but it does lack some of the depth of character that many folks are looking to find in a RPG, so 3E may be a better bet for you. (As you own 3E already, I'd count it as your best candidate. Finding 1E or 2E will cost you some decent money and you might not like the minimalist style as much anyway.)

Quote from: Vonn;806009
As you're already familiar with AD&D one of the d20/D&D derivatives could be up your alley:
- Go fer yer Gun!
I think that Go Fer Yer Gun is an excellent d20 version of the western genre and like it better than the other ones listed.

Another option to consider is Owl Hoot Trail by Pelgrane press, which is based on one of those minimalist d20 rules systems instead of all-out d20. It has fantasy elements in it, but you could ignore those.
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Vonn

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Straightforward Western RPGs
« Reply #5 on: December 25, 2014, 07:33:29 am »
Quote from: finarvyn;806012
I think that Go Fer Yer Gun is an excellent d20 version of the western genre and like it better than the other ones listed.


And it's free as well at rpgnow.com! :cool:
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« Reply #6 on: December 25, 2014, 07:35:24 am »
What old-school (or new-school!) fantasy adventures have you converted to SWN? I was considering putting the Isle of Dread on a world where genetech was common prior to the Scream... The same goes with Carcosa, which could be a world in an SWN Sector with some modifications...
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Skyrock

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Straightforward Western RPGs
« Reply #7 on: December 25, 2014, 09:12:29 am »
Another d20 take on the old west that is very easy to use for one-shots and short campaigns is Tumbleweed for Microlite20: http://www.retroroleplaying.com/forum/index.php?action=downloads;sa=downfile&id=108

It is also free as in beer, so there is no reason not to take a look at it.
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Matt

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Straightforward Western RPGs
« Reply #8 on: December 25, 2014, 10:23:54 am »
Thank you all for the tips and suggestions!

Merry Christmas!

K Peterson

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Straightforward Western RPGs
« Reply #9 on: December 25, 2014, 10:26:27 am »
Boot Hill 3e has been the best I've found. A system with some detail, and a usable RPG framework, but not a bloated, complex tome.

Like the OP, I found A&8's to be far too complex. Coyote Trail left me with a general meh feeling. A d20 Western RPG of any kind really turns me off.

3rik

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Straightforward Western RPGs
« Reply #10 on: December 25, 2014, 10:31:38 am »
Get Coyote Trail Expanded and you'll have everything you need. You get a free pdf with the printed book. Granted, characters start out really vulnerable and the game is pretty deadly but you can easily fix that without breaking the system. Shipping costs a bit too high for you? Check it out on Book Depository. Send Precis Intermedia proof of your purchase and you'll still get your free pdf.

Another light western game that I really like is Gunslingers & Gamblers. It's available for two different rules sets. For a print version you'll have to go to Lulu.

BRP: Aces High is nice, but yeah, some semi-optional supernatural stuff in there. In this particular case it's very easy to just leave it out, though, so it may still be worth taking a look at.
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RunningLaser

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Straightforward Western RPGs
« Reply #11 on: December 25, 2014, 10:42:44 am »
If you don't mind the line between wargame and rpg blurred, take a look at Six Gun Sound by Two Hour Wargames.  Best of all, if your group can't make it, you can play solo:)

Matt

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« Reply #12 on: December 25, 2014, 10:49:45 am »
Quote from: RunningLaser;806032
If you don't mind the line between wargame and rpg blurred, take a look at Six Gun Sound by Two Hour Wargames.  Best of all, if your group can't make it, you can play solo:)


Solo is always good to have as an option. Where can I learn more of this game? And where is that line anyway? Sometimes when we play Risk we adopt personae of ruthless, conquest-mad dictators...

RunningLaser

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Straightforward Western RPGs
« Reply #13 on: December 25, 2014, 11:08:42 am »
Quote from: Matt;806033
Solo is always good to have as an option. Where can I learn more of this game? And where is that line anyway? Sometimes when we play Risk we adopt personae of ruthless, conquest-mad dictators...



Matt, here's the main site for Two Hour Wargames.

They have quite a big line up of games- historical, fantasy, modern, sci-fi, pulp, zombies and a couple more:)  

THW has a cult following amongst solo gamers.  Great stuff.


Here's Six Gun Sound

They have two sets of rules that are free for download, Chain Reaction and Swordplay.  Both should give you a good idea of what the rules are like.

Here's the link for that:)
« Last Edit: December 25, 2014, 11:11:03 am by RunningLaser »

Simlasa

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Straightforward Western RPGs
« Reply #14 on: December 25, 2014, 11:49:49 am »
Quote from: RunningLaser;806035
They have two sets of rules that are free for download, Chain Reaction and Swordplay.  Both should give you a good idea of what the rules are like.
Definitely give the free rules a look first. All THW games are sprung from the same base mechanism.
Some folks (like me) think they're great fun... others find the games they provide to be too far out of the hands of players, forces often seem to ignore orders or do unexpected things.
Also, the 'style' of the author can be a bit off-putting for some (he can come off as hating on RPGs despite his scifi and fantasy games edging ever closer to being full blown RPGs).
They're the sort of games best learned while playing but the THW forum is a big help with questions.

I myself would go with Aces High... but it does have some easily ignored supernatural elements of the sort the OP doesn't seem able to easily ignore.