Sunday, April 10, 2011

G is for Gunslinger

It always seems to come back to westerns for me. From the Leone-inspired name to the Sabata poster banner to the boomtown of Motherlode, most of my blog has been western-inspired, a fantasy or apocalyptic veneer over a frontier core.

I was talking with my friend CJ about the sort of games that he would like to play over a couple of whiskey and cokes and he started reminiscing about a Deadlands game in his past, probably the most successful game that he's ever played in. I tried to get a Deadlands game going with my crew before, but there's just something about the setting and PC parties within it that's really hit or miss for me. It seems like a lot of people gravitate towards the Arcane Backgrounds and cool powers of the setting; I've seen a lot of potential parties that are loaded down with Hucksters, Mad Scientists and Blessed without once cracking the multitude of movie western roles. I guess it's hard to think of 'Old coot prospector' or 'Army deserter' as D&D-style gaming classes, even if they are western archetypes.

I think my ideal campaign milieu is an anachronistic action western, equals parts Robert Rodriguez's Desperado, Lawrence Kasdan's Silverado and Howard Hawks's El Dorado, plus a lot more films on top of that (I just liked the rhyme scheme): a West that Never Was combining kung-fu, sleeve guns, electric guitars and motorcycles with a cinematic frontier filled with oil towns under siege, outlaw gangs and railways connecting it all. The closest that I've seen any piece of media come to the idea is Rockstar Games' Red Dead Revolver. Even with a soundtrack of phenomenal Spaghetti western music and a gritty film aesthetic, it was still a Capcom game at heart, which means that nothing has to make sense. You can be fighting fat guys and midget clowns in an abandoned mill until everyone's dead, then have to deal with a dynamite-strapped boss character who chases after you with a pair of metal shields and explodes when he runs into you and that's okay, because they're carnies.

I haven't seen this kind of cinematic western flavor in many RPG products, save Dave Bezio's Wild West Cinema, which seems to be on the exact same wavelength as I am. However, I'm hesitant to spend another $10 on a PDF download that I might never use when I'm reasonably sure that I could hack this game together with Savage Worlds, the game I'm most comfortable with and the original rules set in which Bezio ran his successful wild west games.

I know this one is a bit short and a bit late, so here's a little bit of video to make up for it. Over-the-top Korean westerns are a-okay in my book.


  1. Dewd! The Good the Bad and the Weird is AWESOME!

    Also, now I really want to roll up either an old coot prospector or an army deserter for a D&D game. The latter could easily be a fighter who just got fed up. The prospector might be cool as an aging, banjo-playing bard, or perhaps a dwarven ranger who specializes in subterranean exploration.

  2. That is a cool trailer!

    Have you seen Rango yet?

  3. I hear what your saying about Deadlands. If the rest of the group just dosent "get" it the game will probably have a short life expectancy.

    Awsome trailer also.

    So far your a-z is the one I've been digging the most, keep it up!

  4. I think you would have loved my Silverlode games. We had an old coot prospector, a gun-toting mariachi, frontier lass, and a buffalo soldier mixed I'n with our mad scientists, wizards, and spies.

    Man, I need to revive that fame for my next convention...

  5. Thanks a lot, Zombiecowboy! I really appreciate the encouragement, especially since it's been a tough updating schedule for me. With assignments for class and other personal commitments, it's really encouraging to know that there are folks out there who are enjoying the stuff that I'm working on.

    @Paladin, I haven't seen Rango yet. It definitely looks right up my alley. :)

    @Risus, dude, the Silverlode page was one of the first RPG websites that I EVER went to, when I was looking for free online RPGs in high school. Right up there with Ewen Cluney's Thrash and Bob Schroeck's BBS transcripts of TFOS sessions from 1988.

  6. I think you've mentioned something like this before, but it still made my day. :)

    I'm right there with you on the aesthetic that you're going for. Ennio Morricone is usually on repeat play when I'm writing or thinking about gaming (unless, for some reason, I'm thinking of cyberpunk).