Gunsight -- an AW-inspired hack set in the Old West

  • 10 Replies
Gunsight -- an AW-inspired hack set in the Old West
« on: September 11, 2012, 05:42:26 PM »
Stepping out on a limb here...

I've been messing around with this Old West hack of AW. You can find it here. It's not quite complete, but I have the following classes (some of them are a little weak, so help me improve them!):

The Trick Shot -- fastest gun in the west. This guy is into making a name for himself by winning showdowns. He's also pretty wicked in a fight.

The Law Man -- the marshal or sheriff. This guy organizes a posse and goes after people to serve warrants against them or collect the bounty on them.

The Gambler -- the con man; the face. This guy is always in and out of schemes, cheating folks to get rich quick.

The Thunderheart -- the Indian brave slash shaman. This guy can disappear into the wild without leaving a trace. He's also got some quasi psychic open-your-brain stuff.

The Outlaw -- the Chopper, pretty much. The outlaw has a gang, and the wild lands between civilized steadings are his domain.

The Baron -- the Hardholder, pretty much. A town has built up around this guy's enterprise (eg, his mine or his railroad). There might be a sheriff and a judge, but they default to his authority.

The Madam -- she has the dirt on everyone, and she trades in secrets and social favors. If you need something and you don't know how to get it, she's usually the one you want to see.

The classes are a mix of adaptations from AW plus my own moves plus moves I've seen floating around on these forums (eg, I know I stole moves from John Harper, and from the Smiler, the Abacus, and the Cabal, just off the top of my head). If anyone sees a move they invented and has a problem with me shamelessly stealing it, let me know and I'll pull it down from the document.

We haven't playtested this yet (mostly because my group has had a hard time getting more than 3 of use together at a time for the last month). We'll probably playtest it starting in late November. But I really wanted to start getting feedback on it, as I've only had limited experience hacking AW before.

So please, play it out and let me know what you think.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2013, 08:11:01 PM by ColdLogic »

Re: Gunsight -- an AW-inspired hack set in the Old West
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2012, 12:48:08 AM »
I wouldn't set it up that way. Too many players are going to want to be the Fastest Gun in the West. In fact, I'd argue that, outside of a spare--and, likely, deliberately obtuse and contradictory--handful, everyone who sits down to play a Wild West game because it's a Wild West game sits down to play the Fastest Gun in the West.

Sure, they want to play Maverick--who's also the Fastest Gun in the West. Sure they want to play the Man with No Name--who's also the Fastest Gun in the West. They might even want to play Little Neddy*--who's also the Fastest Gun in the West.

So even putting that as an option and saying only one person gets to play it... Well, it's Reservior Dogs: Everyone wants to be Mr. Black.

I'd go at it from another angle. The game in my head has playbooks like Justice, Law, Civilization, Greed, Strife, Revenge, Sorrow, Survival, Courtesy, and Betrayal, and then, maybe like Dungeon World, options for being Dude or a Slicker and then options for being a Northerner, Southerner, Freeman, Mexican, Indian (Wild West game--get over it), and Fer'ner.

It'd also have something like AW's sex move except instead it triggers when you draw on someone or when you're drawn on. Intimacy is not sex in the Wild West. Gunfights are sex.
*Three Amigos

Re: Gunsight -- an AW-inspired hack set in the Old West
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2012, 04:01:16 AM »
I love the idea of a Wild West hack! It's a perfect set-up, with most of the advice in AW porting right into the game.

I think you need to be a bit wary of the playbooks and how they mix though; what if one player wants to be the Law Man and another the Outlaw? Why wouldn't they just be swapping lead with each other until one of them fell? Could the Outlaw be the Baron instead; make his schtick having a gang that works on his land and protects his herd, but gets a little out of hand when he's not there to supervise him? Then your Hardholder-type could be the Mayor, which adds an interesting democratic spin to things; what does the Mayor do when someone else stands for Mayor?

I see what Chan means about the Trick Shot, but I don't think everyone would want to be that character, anymore than everyone playing AW wants to be the Gunlugger. The playbook does seem to be more about the classic legendary gunslinger though, with the moves focused on gaining and using fame, so maybe just call him that playbook the Gunslinger? It could also be interesting if he loses his special moves for a time if he get's beaten in a shootout: isn't that how you make your name in the Wild West, by outdrawing and outshooting the best there is? Every kid with a six-shooter will be looking to take him down! ;-)

Re: Gunsight -- an AW-inspired hack set in the Old West
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2012, 01:57:47 PM »
James: by default, the Outlaw doesn't have any warrants or anything against him. I was thinking mostly of Curly Bill and his Cowboys from Tombstone.

I also don't think the Trick Shot is really a dominant class. He specializes in showdowns, and that's about it. Right now, I actually feel his is one of the weakest classes, flavor-wise, and folks from my group who've looked at my draft agree. I'd appreciate some input on making him more interesting.

Chan: a friend of mine also suggested making 'race' type moves (like the foreigner, the Mexican, etc). What kinds of things would you suggest?

I think the playbook ideas you've suggested (Sorrow, Loyalty, etc) would make good GM front-backgrounds similar to the scarcities in AW. Any ideas there?

edit -- also, I need to work more on the baron playbook. I kept some of the holding stuff from AW without really thinking clearly about it. Having 200-300 people in your town is pretty low for a booming town growing up around a railroad or a mine. Duh!
« Last Edit: September 13, 2012, 05:05:19 PM by ColdLogic »

Re: Gunsight -- an AW-inspired hack set in the Old West
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2012, 03:20:52 AM »
Can you tell us a little more about what characters or historical figures inspired each playbook? That might help you get some more colour, especially for the trick shot.

For example, among the trick shot's advanced moves, I recognize a quote from Young Guns II's Billy the Kid, and Tombstone's Doc Holliday. Is that right? Westerns aren't really my thing but those two lines stood out even to me.

Both of these characters suggest lowly origins; Billy the Kid lived his whole desperate life hand-to-mouth, and Doc Holliday had a semi-legitimate profession which he used to fund his gambling, right? (They both gambled, but I guess neither one is THE gambler in your terms, who reads a little more like Maverick, am I right?)

Also, I'm wondering whether someone like Calamity Jane might also count as a Trick Shot in your game; she was also a misfit type. Did some work as a scout in the Army, which wasn't exactly becoming for a woman, but nobody cared because her station was pretty low anyway.

That suggests to me something you might want to play up for the Trick Shot: a misfit, an odd jobber, maybe walking the straight and narrow or maybe a little more wobbly of a path, but always just scraping by, either way.

Does this help?

Re: Gunsight -- an AW-inspired hack set in the Old West
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2012, 06:50:59 PM »
I've revised the uploaded version. The revised version has cleaner basic moves, cleaner class playbooks, and some other formatting changes for ease of reading. I'll be spending the next few weeks actually revising the hack in an attempt to separate it more from AW and make it more uniquely Western-feeling.

Creases, yes some of the move names are lines uttered by characters in movies. You got the Billy the Kid and Doc Holiday lines. Also, there's Rooster Cogburn's 'Fill your hands you son of a bitch!' (which he says before he charges into a fight vs four bad-ass dudes) and 'This ain't no coon hunt!' (when he's explaining why tracking down a bad guy is going to be rough and tumble). My hope is to come up with more lines-as-move-names.

I'm not really thinking of historical figures for the playbooks, with the exception of Geronimo. Otherwise, almost everyone would be an outlaw and among other things the showdown move would get ditched (sadly, the heroics of the Old West are largely fictional; the Earps vs Clantons was really gang warfare, most of the mythical 'heroes' were in very few gunfights, and usually the winner won by shooting the other guy in the back).

But I'll talk about inspirations, as far as movies go, in another post, when time permits.

I appreciate your input, though, and yes your questions and comments definitely help. How could the odd-jobber get realized in a playbook, do you think? Maybe something along the lines of mutating the gigs move from AW, except leaving it very open?

Maybe the PC has a list of odd-job services they can provide, and a move like:
When you hire out your services, say what you're looking to do and roll. On a 10+, someone has just the job for you at fair wages. On a 7-9, choose one:
- there's a job alright, but the pay is low
- there's a job for you, but it's high-risk
- forget legit work; someone needs a gun-hand

« Last Edit: September 19, 2012, 07:01:41 PM by ColdLogic »

Re: Gunsight -- an AW-inspired hack set in the Old West
« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2013, 08:05:30 AM »
The link to the uploaded version seems to be broken.
Could you please post a new one?

Re: Gunsight -- an AW-inspired hack set in the Old West
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2013, 08:16:04 PM »
I fixed the link. Sorry about that. I haven't done much with this in the last several months. Let me know if you play it.

Re: Gunsight -- an AW-inspired hack set in the Old West
« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2013, 05:29:18 PM »
I'm very keen to try this hack!
I've been thinking of a western AW hack to put into the Deadlands framework, as it is one of my favourite RPG settings
I will probably look to add other Deadlands staples like the Fire 'n' Brimstone Preacher, and the Huckster (weird magics)

Re: Gunsight -- an AW-inspired hack set in the Old West
« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2014, 11:44:30 AM »
Very cool stuff Christopher.

I've been tinkering with a wild west hack for AW as well, but I like a lot of what you have done here. Are you planning on fleshing Gunsight out any further?

Best Regards,
Azure Keep - Game Design and Publishing
Ruma: Dawn of Empire RPG kickstarter launching May 2, 2017

Re: Gunsight -- an AW-inspired hack set in the Old West
« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2014, 11:23:03 AM »
I replied to Aryus in PM, but just so yall know -- I'm not planning on doing anything with this quote 'hack' at all, so feel free. I put hack in quotes because honest to God it's just a re-skin of Vincent and other peoples' moves from this forum (meaning there's no design innovation here). This thing won't produce a thematic game without help from the players. It doesn't ask 'can the PCs make a better life for themselves', or any other questions. It doesn't explore scarcity. It doesn't do anything. I just changed 'Go Aggro' to 'Hold Someone Up', etc, and created hacked playbooks.

I'd strongly suggest yall look at I Can Chan's playbook ideas above; those look like great thematic elements to me. Maybe those serve the function of Scarcities in AW; maybe they are stats; maybe they are playbook after all -- I don't know. Start with themes, build basic moves and MC support that points to them, and create playbooks last (says the guy who didn't do it successfully lol). Either that, or just play DitV or Dust Devils. Or AlfredR's World of Dusters, if you want an AW-lite western.

I'm totally game to talk about this if anyone's interested. And to yall who've expressed interest here and in PM: thanks! Seriously.