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Console: Sidearm
Legend of the Gun
15th-Jun-2009 02:03 am - Level Up!
Oh, and while I'm at it:

When you level up:
  • When you hit level 2-5, you add +1 to your Favored stats.

  • When you hit levels 6-10, you add +1 to all your stats except the Unfavored one.

  • At 11th level and up, you add +1 to all your stats.

To make a high-level character:
  • Add (Level - 1) to your Favored stats.

  • Add (Level - 5) to your regular stats.

  • Add (Level - 10) to your Unfavored stats.

  • If you're 57th level, you'll be adding +56 to your Favored stats, +52 to most of your stats, and +47 to most of your stats. Nice and simple. You want to customize your stats, go buy a Monocle of Accuracy.

    (I know, some folks really like to customize their stats. I might allow a 5-point redistribution at 20th and 50th level or something like that.)
15th-Jun-2009 01:40 am - Action points and Speed
I'm in the fine-tuning stage of rules development, and I'm realizing that how fast your character is will be defined much more by special abilities than by your Speed score. Speed gives you more AP, but the AP gap actually closes as you reach higher levels. At high levels a really fast character will only be a single AP ahead! Therefore, class abilities (like the Archer's 2 AP reload and 0 AP attacks by playing a 2) will be the really important stuff.

High-Speed classes are the Archer, Scout, Gambler and Kid. When I look at their abilities, the Archer has the best ones, and the Scout has just one or two. The Gambler and Kid have nothing. In fact, as I found out at Genericon, a really good Gambler runs himself out of AP just helping the rest of the team and practically never gets an attack off. (And the team is incredibly effective when he works this way, believe me.)

Is acting quickly a big enough thematic deal for these characters that it's worth giving them a new ability that speeds them up? Probably not, in my mind. The Archer and Scout should be the really speedy folks; the Gambler and Kid can afford to just be a little faster.

Also, here's a fix that prevents the AP gap from closing. Use your starting Speed to find your base AP:


At every level that you gain a new class ability, you also get +1 AP. Those levels are:

LevelTotal AP Bonus

This way the numerical gap doesn't close. If you're The percentage-wise gap does, but I'm ok with that.
12th-Jun-2009 12:35 am - Gender Roles
The gunslinger plugs the last bandito full of lead, and turns around to reveal - she's a woman! The camera pauses a moment to show the significance of this rarity. Her facial expression tells you all you need to know about who she is in that instant. The wind blows through her hair as she takes off the hat...

You're either for this or you're against it. Out-of-game, frankly, we're against it. We'd much rather see a world where men and women can hold the same jobs without anyone making a big deal out of it. It's a female sheriff, get over it. In-game, on the other hand, there are benefits either way.

When you run a game you'll need to decide whether to keep or reject the many gender stereotypes that show up in the Western genre (and in real life as well). Sidearm definitely plays into gender roles in the Gentleman and Lady classes. These two have their genders written straight into the names. Other classes aren't as clear-cut. By rejecting the stereotypes you'll create a world that will surprise many of your players. Most people don't expect to see Women play certain roles, especially classes like Chief or Bandit. A female MC or supporting character in that role can be a neat thing to see. Alternatively, having people in stereotypical roles lets you put that sort of thing more into the background, which lets you either ignore it for the rest of the game or play off it intentionally a few times for high-impact scenes like the one described above. There's also the issue of historical accuracy (or at least verisimilitude). Most gunfighters were indeed male. Most.

Here's the deciding question, the one that will let you know what kind of game you're really running. If you've got a bar brawl going, did the Lady in the group...
  1. Leave the room in disgust,
  2. Start the fight with her alluring presence, or
  3. Join in?
12th-Jun-2009 12:19 am - Bar Brawls
A good old-fashioned bar brawl is a standard in a Western, and hopefully you can find room for at least one in your game. The rules are simple: everyone joins in, no one dies (or even gets seriously injured), and the piano player keeps doing his job the whole time. If there are dancers on stage, expect them to join in. If no one gets a bottle broken over his head, you're doing something wrong.

If you want to set this all up on a Battlefield, more power to you. Take away everyone's weapons first, and base damage on Strength. Someone reduced to zero HP is not dead, or even unconscious, but Conked - sitting it out on the sidelines, holding his (or her) head and asking the bartender for a drink. Good area effects include regaining HP at the bar, chairs and stools as available weapons, a back door for automatic escape, the piano player as an innocent bystander, getting kicked in the head by a can-can dancer, sandbags hitting people in the head backstage, a slippery floor from all the spilled beer, a relatively safe balcony area, and for the grand finale, a window to throw folks through.

((Writer's note: heck, provide a Battlefield for this in the book.))

Do you really need to keep track of HP and play cards to hit? Probably not. If your group thinks it's fun, go for it. If not, let the MCs show off their superior combat skills or wacky hijinks for a few minutes and then move on to the next scene.

If bar brawls are a regular part of your game, you should start using them to cover up other things. Robberies, murders, kidnappings, and more are all much easier to perpetrate when everyone's hitting everyone else in the head.
11th-Jun-2009 11:28 pm - Bounty Hunting
In a fantasy RPG, you would expect to get most of your cash by beating up monsters and taking their stuff. ((Writer's note: insert sidebar showing the breaking of the HP bonds, which liberate the XP and GP molecules.)) Failing that, your best source is to find a king who is oddly yet typically lacking in quality servants or doughty knights. This king will have no choice but to send you and your companions on a perilous journey to distant lands, in return for which he'll give you a small fortune and perhaps a magical sword.

In a Western game, the equivalent is signing up to be a bounty hunter. Head down to your local Sheriff's office and let him know that you're a new bounty hunter. He will no doubt supply you with a list of mean hombres and fearsome critters that need to take up residence in a small box six feet under. You kill 'em, you get the reward. There's no need to provide any kind of evidence that you're qualified or that you aren't just a gun-toting nut. Frankly, that's who they're looking for.

Some games have a very simple bounty system, akin to the quests you'd find in an old fantasy game - one quest per king, find or kill such-and-such and come back. Straightforward, but a little boring. Other games set up a more complex system, with new bounties posted from time to time (like when you gain levels or kill older bounties) and a centralized headquarters for bounty hunters from across the West. This is more work for the CPU, but also provides a little more fun for the players.

The trick is making things interesting. If the job is "find Black Bart and shoot him full of lead," don't make it an exercise in spending Patience. Bring in some old NPCs who might know where Black Bart is hiding. Introduce his inbred hick relatives, who keep chasing the PCs. Create a hostage situation in the opera house, where the group has to split up and keep the patrons safe. Bring in a team of rival bounty hunters, and if the group can't trick them out of finding Bart, put them on the battlefield too! There's a lot of fun you can have with this beyond the eventual epic combat.

And just for fun, once per game, ratchet up the drama level and throw in a Mistaken Bounty. Did the team shoot the wrong person? Is it a shapechanger? Was the bounty listed wrong to start with? Mistaken bounties are a good opportunity to start up a mystery-oriented sidequest.
26th-Jan-2009 07:48 pm - Creative Commons license
Creative Commons License

This journal and the game that will come out of it are now under the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 3.0 license.
15th-Jan-2009 05:07 pm - Achievement Unlocked
Between this game and this thread I think I might have to include "achievements" in Console Sidearm. It's just such a perfect game for them.

"You've defeated the Skymonger and his ship the Funnel Cloud! You receive the Dorothy Gale Fan Club card!"

I'm not sure exactly what effects the achievement cards would have yet. Perhaps...
  • Replenish a point of Patience

  • Stay in your hand until used, acting as a specific card (like an Ace) or counting as any card when played

  • Merely open new areas of the game

  • Permanently increase a stat by one point

  • Something else entirely

Suggestions are welcome.

Oh, and a bonus point for anyone who got the Oz joke.
26th-Dec-2008 05:11 pm - Found 'im!
Scouts have a wide heritage. Some come from the War back East. Others are natives who specialize in hunting and tracking. Still more are simply frontiersmen trying to make their way in the wilderness. Wherever they come from, Scouts are good at finding food and shelter in the wild.

Most Scouts use rifles, though some of them use bows.


Favored Attributes: Accuracy and Speed
Unfavored Attribute: Spirit
Card: Six. You can ignore the negative qualities of any battlefield area by playing a six. This stays in effect until you leave that area.
1st level: Surprise Attack. When you attack a monster that hasn't moved yet this combat, you deal double damage.
5th level: Hunt And Gather. When your party spends Patience to scrounge up items, you get twice as many as usual.
10th level: Shortcuts. The first movement you take on your turn costs you zero AP.
15th level: Scouting Report. If your battlefield area is empty of enemies, you can learn the HP and MP totals of any enemies on the battlefield. Cost: 2 AP.
20th level: Camouflage. You hide. Enemies will not attack you until the next time you break cover by attacking them. Bosses can still find you. Cost: 3 AP.
30th level: Hobble. You can pay an extra 1 AP when making an attack to give your target the Mired status.
40th level: Hunt Down. A Scout who wants to fight a specific monster has little trouble finding it. You can add one monster to the battlefield per fight. It can be any kind of non-Boss monster that your character has heard of or seen.
50th level: Sneak Up. When you make the attack that ends your Camouflage ability, you deal double damage and ignore armor.
65th level: Monster Book. You automatically know about any weaknesses that any monster on the battlefield has. The CPU should tell you right away when the fight starts. This includes Bosses.
80th level: Terrain Master. When you play a six to ignore a battlefield area's effects, you can choose instead to switch two areas' special effects for the rest of the battle. This applies to everyone who enters those areas.
95th level: One-Man Militia. Movement no longer costs you AP.
99th level: Expert Hunter. When you hit a foe in combat you can choose to inflict the Rabbit status instead of dealing damage.
22nd-Dec-2008 06:01 pm - D'oh!
So I started to put together a quickstart for Genericon, and what do I discover?

I'm missing the Scout!! I completely overlooked them, never wrote more than a few sentences.

I'll post them as soon as I get the chance.
21st-Dec-2008 11:24 am(no subject)

You know, I've been avoiding posting the primary game mechanic here because I was worried that someone might take it and... I don't even know. So screw it. It's here. When something says "Damage based on your Accuracy" or "Healing based on your Spirit," here's the number. Raises move you higher on the table, Lowers move you lower.

5 10

The exception is Speed and Actions, which use a different table.

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