What's the best Western RPG?

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Imaginos

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Yeah, I totally missed out on knowing about it until the Wild West Witcher thread on TBP.
 

Joseph Wolz

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I didn’t bother to read any of this thread, but I’m gonna respond to post #1.

Deadlands Classic is hands down the best western rpg ever developed. It has the poker chips, the poker hands, and at the end of a combat the table looks like a Wild West poker table.

Like America itself, the system is slightly too complicated for what it does, but not so annoying that it doesn’t feel worth it, and it has the aesthetic perfect. It may not have a shot clock, but it feels like every Wild West movie and show up to Deadwood.

I pay zero attention to the setting material, and always use it to run both straight westerns and weird westerns.
 

MattyHelms

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Still nobody? I'm really curious if you can run this sans weirdness and sans alternate timeline out of the box.
Just bought Haunted West yesterday - I'll wait for my hardcopy to show up for a deeper dive, but:

It's a fully-functioning historical Western as a base. The alternative history is separately handled and whatever weirdness you want to add in are handled separately still with advice on how to incorporate in either the "real" or alternate history settings. The Mythos is relegated to an appendix. Its modular approach is one of the main reasons I went with it.

Obviously not a full review here, but it looks to be a freaking masterpiece. If you find history, real history, fascinating, you will find plenty to love here.
 
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Toadmaster

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Just bought Haunted West yesterday - I'll wait for my hardcopy to show up for a deeper dive, but:

It's a fully-functioning historical Western as a base. The alternative history is separately handled and whatever weirdness you want to add in are handled separately still with advice on how to incorporate in either the "real" or alternate history settings. The Mythos is relegated to an appendix. Its modular approach is one of the main reasons I went with it.

Obviously not a full review here, but it looks to be a freaking masterpiece. If you find history, real history, fascinating, you will find plenty to love here.

I've never heard of this one. The description at DTRPG suggests maybe some influence of CoC, but also mentions PbA. Having an adventure called The night of the aerostat also suggests some inspiration from The Wild Wild West which had many "The night of" episodes and that is not a bad thing in my book.

Will be watching for your review, it sounds interesting.
 

Fenris-77

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I didn’t bother to read any of this thread, but I’m gonna respond to post #1.

Deadlands Classic is hands down the best western rpg ever developed. It has the poker chips, the poker hands, and at the end of a combat the table looks like a Wild West poker table.
If you hadn't named the game I would have assumed you were talking about Dust Devils here, which also has the chips and the hands and whatnot. Game of the Year in 2002 if I recall.
 

MattyHelms

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Meant to quote here, but I'm replying to Toastmaster's question about Haunted West's system:

The main system is definitely derived from classic CoC/BRP - d100 roll under. It has three versions - straight up, narrative heavy, and skirmish - all compatible and based on the same stats and d100 rolls, just focused around what you're in the mood for. The narrative one is interesting - it's more like the players are spinning tall tales around the campfire and they only need to roll for success when the GM calls BS.
 

Toadmaster

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Meant to quote here, but I'm replying to Toastmaster's question about Haunted West's system:

The main system is definitely derived from classic CoC/BRP - d100 roll under. It has three versions - straight up, narrative heavy, and skirmish - all compatible and based on the same stats and d100 rolls, just focused around what you're in the mood for. The narrative one is interesting - it's more like the players are spinning tall tales around the campfire and they only need to roll for success when the GM calls BS.

That last bit normally isn't my type of game, but I could see that being amusing with the right players and tall tales is a specific genre of western fiction.

It could also be a good beer and pretzels style storytelling game, big fish stories etc, you could even have an adults only version titled "Dear Penthouse". :grin:
 

chuckdee

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If you hadn't named the game I would have assumed you were talking about Dust Devils here, which also has the chips and the hands and whatnot. Game of the Year in 2002 if I recall.
I couldn't recall the name of the game, but that's the one I thought of also. I really liked the feel of that game.
 

MattyHelms

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Meant to quote here, but I'm replying to Toastmaster's question about Haunted West's system:

The main system is definitely derived from classic CoC/BRP - d100 roll under. It has three versions - straight up, narrative heavy, and skirmish - all compatible and based on the same stats and d100 rolls, just focused around what you're in the mood for. The narrative one is interesting - it's more like the players are spinning tall tales around the campfire and they only need to roll for success when the GM calls BS.
To be clear - this is simply an option, covered in a few of the book's 800 pages. The default take is a traditional crunchy d100 system.
 

Fenris-77

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I couldn't recall the name of the game, but that's the one I thought of also. I really liked the feel of that game.
I wpuldnt have either except I happen to be playing in a one shot later this week. The new edition PDF is currently on sale for 10 bucks on Drivethru btw.
 

DeadBob

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I don't know that it is anything like mechanically the best Old West game, but I did like Boot Hill 3e's step-by-step instructions/advice on creating a fairly open-ended campaign and campaign area, and playing it more like a braunstein than a party-play style of game.
 

ffilz

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Did anyone list FGU's Wild West:


Also Avalon Hill's Gunslinger has characters and advancement that get it pretty close to being usable as an RPG:

 

Toadmaster

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To be clear - this is simply an option, covered in a few of the book's 800 pages. The default take is a traditional crunchy d100 system.

Yeah, I got that it is an option, I'm adding it to my think about list.

The narrative bit is actually an interesting idea, but it also struck me a bit of the drinking game Liars dice. Not a terrible idea, and I was serious about other possibilities. I like the idea that the GM (or possibly other players) can call out an action as too over the top forcing a skill check.
 

MattyHelms

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800 pages?!!!
Is it written in that faux-Shakespeare style used in Deadwood?

It sounds interesting though... more tempting, being BRP-ish, than Down Darker Trails.
So. Much. History. And. Folklore.

Really, it is so damn thorough, I'm just enjoying skipping around reading various fascinating bits. It's not dreadful details like "what is the volume of an antelope's stomach," it's gems like interesting ways to incorporate ghost trains or to work little known historical figures into your campaign as patrons needing your help.

As a side note, I am 100% basing the Mythos-centric Haunted West campaign my players want around trains because of what I've read. Now, I've got an excuse to indulge in Bold Venture's oddly fascinating reissues of Railroad Stories.
 

3rik

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MattyHelms MattyHelms Haunted West definitely sounds more interesting than I intially thought. The cover illustration made me think of Cowboys & Aliens, which is a thing I'd like to avoid in any RPG at all costs.
 

MattyHelms

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MattyHelms MattyHelms Haunted West definitely sounds more interesting than I intially thought. The cover illustration made me think of Cowboys & Aliens, which is a thing I'd like to avoid in any RPG at all costs.
Yeah, that was my reaction until some of the reviews started coming in. That cover really doesn't effectively convey what the game actually is. Sure, you could do what the cover shows, but...

I don't know, maybe the audience for a good western is so limited, you've got to make it look like a weird west thing to even get people to look at it. Since I'm giddy at having a vague excuse to plunge into 90-year-old railroad fiction, I may not be the best barometer of the marketplace.
 

3rik

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I don't know, maybe the audience for a good western is so limited, you've got to make it look like a weird west thing to even get people to look at it.
You're probably right.
 

3rik

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Subtle is the important part, Weird west RPG settings tend to be over the top.
Well, Weird Frontiers somehow manages to go so far over the top, and in such a way, that it's acceptable again. I have a very low tolerance for weird tech, though, so even here I'm going to remove that particular bit from the game.
 

SirFrog

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Deadlands is the perfect Western RPG...because to be honest, if you don't include some form of supernatural, the Wild West is actually pretty boring.
 

MattyHelms

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Deadlands is the perfect Western RPG...because to be honest, if you don't include some form of supernatural, the Wild West is actually pretty boring.
Weirdly, I feel that about every period of history EXCEPT the Wild West. The more I read the actual histories of the West, the more I find the real world truth is better than any fiction, weird or not.

Sure can't argue, though, that Weird Westerns are way more popular than historical Westerns in gaming.
 

Sosthenes

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Yeah, quite often one game leaves a big enough imprint that it changes gaming tastes. Boot Hill apparently didn't, so it was Deadlands that set the "standard". Just like Gamma World (sadly, IMHO) created a situation where post-apocalyptic games are mutant-infested.
 

DeadBob

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Deadlands is the perfect Western RPG...because to be honest, if you don't include some form of supernatural, the Wild West is actually pretty boring.
I am so very much the opposite. I get really annoyed when every historical game has to have weird SF/F stuff in the core rules.

I think it makes great, occasional, optional flavoring, however.
 

Rich H

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For me the danger with adding in weird/horror/SF elements to an historical setting is it's like flavouring a dish that you know - too much and its ruined or becomes a totally different thing. So a game like Deadlands is way too OTT for me and because the setting is put together with those things in mind its difficult to dial it down; at least in my experience. I do like alternate historical settings though but I just have to be very careful with my purchases; it's about finding the sweet spot.
 

Rich H

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... covered in a few of the book's 800 pages.

You guys must have biceps the size of Bournemouth! :gunslinger:

Against the Darkmaster is about half that size and I had to split it into 5 or 6 separate books and get it printed out in order to want to even read it, never mind actually use the thing! :grin:
 
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