Most of what follows took place in the West.Yep, I think that covers a lot of it.
Not just any West.
It was the West of legend and suckling-memory, where drifters caked head to heel with dust swilled red-eye whiskey at long mahogany bars, punching holes in the tin ceilings with their big Colts to impress their half-naked, quartz-eyed hostesses; where buffalo thunder across gaunt desert, grass ocean, and the great mountain ranges where the earth showed its tusks, stopping only to splash in the wallows and scratch their burlap hides against the cowcatchers of the Central and Western Pacific and the mighty Atchison; where red-lacquer Concords barreled down the western face of the Divide, pulled by teams of six with eyes rolling white, whips cracking like Winchesters above their heads; where glistening black locomotives charged across trestles of latticework oak, burning scrubwood in greasy black steamers and blasting their arrogant whistles; where highwaymen in slouch hats and long dusters pulled bandannas up over their faces and stepped suddenly from behind boulders, firing at the sky and bellowing at shotgun messengers to throw up their hands and throw down the box; where all the towns were named Lockjaw and Busted Straight, Diablo and Purgatory and Spunk.
A West where all the gamblers wore linen and pomade and dealt aces from both sides of the deck and derringers from inside their sleeves; where cowboys ate beans and drank coffee around campfires to harmonica music, and everything was heavily seasoned with tin. At sunup, drowsy and stiff, the cowboys drove undulating herds of grumbling, lowing, high-strung longhorns past ridges where feathered warriors balanced their horses square on the edge, bows and lances raised against the sky while the brass section blared and kettle drums pounded. Gun battles cleared busy streets in a twinkling and bullets rang off piles of rock in the alkali flats with p-tweeeeeee!, kicking dust into the eyes of lawman and outlaw alike. The U.S. Cavalry was invincible, and bandits and gunfighters were celebrities, trailing battalions of paparazzi in brown derbies: Custer had yet to stand on his hill, Jesse to turn his back on Bob, and Wild Bill to draw his fabled hand. All the wagon trains came with concertinas, and all the undertakers and hangmen looked like John Carradine.
... It was the West of Daniel Boone, Kit Carson and Billy the Kid; but it was also the West of William S. Hart, Roy Rogers and John Wayne. It was big enough to encompass the bombastery of Buffalo Bill and Cecil B. DeMille and the skullduggery of the bloody brothers Harte.
This was Johnny Vermillion's West; a West that should have been, but never quite was.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Something I feel like I should share...
I listen to audio books while I cook, clean and do my walks around my new hometown. Today, I started a Western story called The Adventures of Johnny Vermillion, written by Loren D. Estleman, a funny and decidedly cinematic Western novel with a phenomenal introduction that I think captures what I want to do with a Western RPG. What follows is a selection of that first chapter, trimmed a bit as to try and avoid copyright infringement: