View Full Version : Advice on running a Western/fantasy RPG.

14-04-2006, 12:38
Hey all,

Been reading Steven King’s The Dark Tower books and it fired my imagination to run some RP games set in a western/fantasy world (in a town called tombstone, naturally :cool: ).

Two questions for y’all. First off: what system would you guess recommend I use? I’m not the widest read GameMaster in the world (I play/run CoC, WFRP, Victoriana and D&D from time to time) so I have no idea what’d work best, I’d rather not have to use D20.

Second, can you point me in the direction of any artwork or suchlike that’d fit the bill? I like giving out lots of handouts, with pictures of the scenes or NPCs portraits.

14-04-2006, 13:27
firstly , GREAT BOOKS ,

err i would advise using a d 100 syestem like they do for warhammer fantasy role play

22-04-2006, 23:17
My knee-jerk reaction is to suggest GURPS since it has the flexibility to handle what you're trying to do. However, GURPS seems to be like Marmite: you either love it or you hate it. There is, however, a sourcebook that you can get a hold of that would be appropriate, i.e. GURPS Old West (http://www.sjgames.com/gurps/books/OldWest/).

One thing that does spring to mind, though, is the Deadlands RPG (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deadlands). You can also download this from DriveThruRPG for $12 (see here (http://www.drivethrurpg.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=1085)). There is also a D20 conversion on the same site for the same price since I see that you're familiar with the D&D system (even though you said you didn't want to use D20). See here (http://www.drivethrurpg.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=1135) for the product in question.

Unless you want to do some rather extensive conversion, WFRP wouldn't be that useful.


23-04-2006, 07:51
Cheers for the info Cage, Deadlands looks pretty nifty and I love the idea of incorporating a deck of cards into the gameplay. I’ll probably buy the download just to pilfer ideas.

Next time I had FLGSwards I’ll have a look see into GURPS, I’ve herd of it but never used it. Any chance of a quick rundown of its strengths and weaknesses?

23-04-2006, 14:55
Okay, for a brief summary see below. You can, however, find a 32 page "lite" version on the Steve Jackson Games website at: GURPS Lite 4e (http://www.sjgames.com/gurps/lite).

Well, in some ways the name says it all: Generic Universal Roleplaying System. For the last year or so it has been in the fourth edition, so support tied specifically to that edition is smaller than the third edition (16 years worth of support, I believe). So, Old West and the other 200+ sourcebooks will require minor conversion. The new rules are, however, superior to the earlier edition although it would have been nice to see the odd fix to streamline some of the combat mechanics (sometimes you just want to have a general range modifier, rather than looking up speed/distance/size modifiers). Anyway.

Character generation is points driven based on a value determined by the gamemaster to suit the campaign in question. 100 points is considered pretty standard, with these points used to buy levels in four attributes (10 average, 20+ is "superhuman") and some secondaries. You also buy skills, advantages, disadvantages and quirks, the latter two giving you more points to spend. As one might imagine with any points driven generation, it is easy to min-max, but a watchful GM should moderate this tendency. I personally use a GURPS-moderated character creation to model some characters in fiction that I write.

The system can be rules-intensive (sometimes a bad thing), but there are numerous rules to simplify them and speed up gameplay that depend on the preferences of the GM. Since most of my play tends to be electronic, I've tended to use a FUDGE overlay (Google "FUDGE" for more information on this; a useful and flexible free system that also might be useful for you).

One main disadvantage that I've seen levvied at the rules in general is, other than their complexity (which is easily fixable), that they tend to be bland. That is because they are generic it is pretty hard to get them to evoke a specific setting. I would have to agree and disagree with this since finding a setting that is bound to a specific rules set is pretty hard (e.g. Shadowrun and even then it can be converted). Something like WFRP for example actually works better in GURPS than it does the WFRP system!

Overall, though, the strengths of GURPS is the sourcebook support (though see the above) and the cross-genre potential of the universe. You can feel fairly comfortable that there is a sourcebook out there that is going to have the information that you want. SJGames also has about the single best customer interaction that I've seen. For example, I just remembered this: GURPS Deadlands: Weird West (http://www.sjgames.com/gurps/books/Deadlands/) (also with Deadlands: Hexes, Deadlands: Varmints, Deadleads Dime Novel 1 - Aces and Eights, and Deadlands Dime Novel 2 - Wanted: Undead or Alive). I cannot send it, but I have a pre-publication copy of the Deadlands rules that were available for playtest (see Pyramid magazine (http://www.sjgames.com/pyramid/)), which again goes a long way to showing the approach of SJGames.

In short I would highly recommend GURPS, but then again it does everything that I need it to do. If you're only ever going to play in one or two genre, then it isn't going to be required, but I would still use it anyway. (Note also that there are other generic systems out there, some of which are also available for free download.)