Okay, I have been posting a lot lately but I think i’ve had an idea.

Okay, I have been posting a lot lately but I think i’ve had an idea.

Okay, I have been posting a lot lately but I think i’ve had an idea. Now this might be because ive been up for 26 hours but, ill go ahead and post anyway. 

Im thinking of using dungeon world to create a wild west setting, playbooks, and other stuff along those lines. Similar to Adventures on dungeon planet. Any intrest / ideas for something like this? 

Edit: I apologize for all the accidental racism. 

108 thoughts on “Okay, I have been posting a lot lately but I think i’ve had an idea.”

  1. Definite interest, yeah! There was a PBP game on the Something Awful forums a while back that ran with this setting: gunpowder weapons, vampire bandits, heists etc. Sounded really cool! They just used  any playbooks, but it’d be great to see three custom ones that the setting cries out for. Sheriff, outlaw, wanderer are some great archetypes right there!

  2. Don’t “use dungeon world”, use the PBTA engine. A western game has a lot of elements that are different from a fantasy game. And you would want to start from a western perspective and then add fantastic elements right? Not a fantasy game with some WW stuff attached right?

  3. Why dungeon world and not going for a general hack of aw? Are you sure that DW’s stats and basic moves would be good to recreate a western story?

  4. James Hawthorne And for playbooks, im thinking 6 or so. i̶n̶d̶i̶a̶n̶ ̶w̶a̶r̶r̶i̶o̶r̶( Im a bad person) Scout, Outlaw, The Law, Shaman, and 1 more TBD, aswell a compendium or 2 for each playbook

  5. Also check out the Spellslinger class.

    But one thing, fantasy and westerns have a really different story structure. Look I to these things and make your (GM) Moves and principle and agenda reflect that. Otherwise it is just dungeonworld with guns and funny hats.

  6. Christopher Stone-Bush Never really played Apocalypse world, but I will check it out and see how it fits. But I have been hacking DW for a while so its my most comfortable system. 

  7. Tim Franzke Oh and it would be. But im thinking more of a setting were magic/something weird TBD has entered the world in a sort of shadowrun type way.

  8. This is part of why I’m suggesting using AW. AW doesn’t use classes. The playbooks are archetypes. You can look at Westerns and say “these are the typical types of characters in Westerns” and then make playbooks after them.

  9. Ok, I’ll elaborate on my misgivings. 

    Moves are not just rolls, move have a strong tie to the fiction. Different AW-derived systems have different moves because they aim to create different stories. fighting someone with DW’s moves and fighting someone with AW’s moves creates entirely different scenes, because the moves push the fiction in different directions. The same is true with, for example, manipulating someone using DW’s Parley and manipulating someone in Monsterhearts. This is possibly even more true from the GM side, as fronts and similar structures focus the GM’s attentions and resources on different issues. 

    For those of us who are very used to D&D-like fantasy adventure gaming, and who came to DW as their first Powered by the Apocalypse game, it’s easy not to notice how strongly the basic moves shape a game’s fiction, because the fiction they create is something we take for granted.

    However, a fantasy, dungeon-crawly adventure story is very different from a western story. For this reason, I believe, it would require different rules and different moves, pushing on specific tropes and situations of western fiction: I am not very expert of western, but things such as highly deadly and quick duels, tense contests of people staring down each other, maybe things about giving one’s word and making good for it. DW moves won’t give you this stuff. To be a bit extreme, they will give you a fantasy story with characters dressed up as cowboy. 

    The ability to closely mold the mechanics after a specific kind of fiction is the best feature the Powered by the Apocalypse offers. DW moves are very good at what they do – which is fantasy adventure. Trying to use them for something different would be squandering the system’s greatest potential, I think.

    On the other hand, giving AW a go (it’s actually very near to many western tropes already) and maybe creating specific mechanics to really have the tension and badassness of western movies in your games? that’s awesome! 

  10. Alberto Muti speaks pure truth. If you want to add guns to DW, then all you need is a gunslinger class. If you want to make a Western hack, then you’re going to be building this from the ground up with moves that push the fiction to emulate Westerns.

  11. Christopher Stone-Bush Ive got my work cut out for me it seems. and Tim Franzke I really dont know how I tripped over myself so many times, im usually so much better about this.

  12. Alright everyone

    1) Once again sorry for the insensitivities

    2) I have read through the first hundred pages of Apocalypse world and now I see why it might be a better base.

    3) the apocalypse genre is an extension of the western so the hack shouldn’t be that hard.

    4) I am going to read up on all the other PBTA systems 

    5) I am going to go watch every western I can get my hands on!

    Thanks for all the help. The tavern is probably the most helpful place on the internet.

  13. Tim Franzke Thats going to be a good source of inspiration. Also I came in here expecting to make a few playbooks ,now it looks like i’m making an entire system! Not that im complaining.

  14. Well look at all w advice we talked about why using the right starting point is important. Now imagine someone ignored all of that and just used Apocylspe World for a Lovecraftian Horror game. That is tremulus. It just ported a bunch of moves. It has playbooks that are not inspiring or interesting. It’s writing is terrible in some places.

  15. What Tim Franzke said. I was excited for, and backed tremulus at a high level. What a waste of money. I feel like the person who wrote that knew nothing about the AW system or how it’s intended to work. The writing is sloppy. Moves don’t make sense. All around a massive disappointment.

  16. Good luck!

    Other things. Irgh be

    Dreams Askew

    Murderous Ghosts

    The Regiment

    The Warren (!!!)

    Maybe urban Shadows for faction and corruption moves.

    The Sword, The Crown and the Unspeakable power, as well as Apcoalxpse World : Dark age; once they come out…

  17. Apocalypse World since it started things

    check out M<3s for how it made social conflict seem natural and not clumsy and its approach to emotional leverage

    Sagas for its approach to RPing a period of historical expansion ( this is your go to resource, it has the most in common with the Wild West)

    Tremulus to see its focus on occupational playbooks, which isn’t far off from the way Wild West archetypes get boiled down to their jobs

    Monster of the Week — in my opinion its the most clearly written rendition of the PbtA ruleset and an absolute must read.

    Simple World, by Avery McDaldno, is also a good baseline for making up a *world game. You can’t really only rely on it, but it gets you in a good brain-space.

  18. Yes and no? I mean, you can. No one will fight you or sue you.

    BUT remember that moves (basic moves at the least) are mechanical guidelines for genre conventions. They’re there to say “in these types of stories, this sort of thing always means this.” That’s why Apocalypse World has a fight move about securing resources, that’s why Sagas of the Icelanders has a birthing move, that’s why Monsterhearts lets you hurt people with your words…

    So if you really really want to write a Wild West PbtA game, and you want to reskin an AW move, then you have to ask yourself “does the Wild West Genre, specifically the subgenre of Wild West I want to do, really always follow these tropes or tricks in this [move] situation?”

  19. My group recently played a western game that we built at the table from Simple World. We renamed all the stats to have a more western feel – Grit, Gumption, Poker Face, aaaand can’t remember the other two.

    Anyway, it was a lot of fun. For inspiration I suggest watching a lot of good westerns – especially Italian westerns.

  20. Shadi Alhusary, thank you! I have strong opinions on stuff and I speak a lot, so sometimes I am too aggressive or opinionated. Hope I haven’t been discouraging, I think western could work very well with a PbtA system! It’s really cool that we all managed to start talking about stuff and come to a common point 🙂 

    I totally second looking at Apocalypse World and Sagas of the Icelanders first. Also, try and play games of both: first, because seeing how mechanics actually work when they hit the ground is the best way of understanding them, and understanding how to change them… and second, because they’re both terrific games, and you’ll have excellent fun with them! 🙂 Keep us posted on your work on this! 

  21. Good point Alfred Rudzki . When we ran ours I didn’t really have a theme. It was just a realistic old west setting. One important aspect of our game – I would say the most important, was picking our time period. There’s a lot going on during this time, and historical events are moving quickly, so the year kind of matters in my opinion. 

    We chose 1885 and we did a little readthrough of some historical events at the table to refresh all of our memories. Because of that one of our characters fleshed out his background to involve his family being carted off to one of the many Native American boarding schools. It actually added a lot of depth to the game.

  22. Here are my top 5 westerns. Not all of them are Italian, mind, and there will be people who definitely won’t agree with this list, but I’ve got my reasons for liking them so much :p

    1. The Proposition – a stark, haunting movie about family and hard choices: The Proposition – Trailer

    2. Once Upon a Time in the West – Sergio Leone’s best western, in my opinion. A truly satisfying revenge tale: Once Upon a Time in the West – Original 1969 Trailer

    3. Unforgiven – Clint, Gene Hackman, AND Morgan Freeman? Sign me up! UNFORGIVEN – Trailer ( 1992 )

    4. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford – First, this movie is chock full of great actors. Aside from that, it really gives you an idea for the kind of themes you can run in the western genre: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford- HD Trailer

    5. They Call Me Trinity – A little different in tone, but still a great movie. Basically anything starring Terence Hill and Bud Spencer is great, though. Very funny movie and shows what you can do with a buddy dynamic: THEY CALL ME TRINITY TRAILER

  23. I’ll throw in…

    High Noon is, to me, the archetypal old western. You’ve got a white hat, terrible odds, and it comes down to a shoot out in the street. It classic, classy, and tense. Its about Doing Right.

    •Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is a good story about loveable banditos. Its a pretty funny and entertaining look at westerns, and it’s the kind of western people who don’t enjoy westerns really get into. Its about Running Away.

    •The Outlaw Josey Wales is good — too graphic for me, but a very good western in terms of looking at communities and how western expansion and violence form and break them.

    Since I think Wild West games are actually about communities, High Noon and Josey Wales would be important to any west game I made.

  24. Here are my five choices for westerns that do a little something different with the genre:

    1. Ravenous – Dark western about canibalism: Ravenous trailer

    2. Dead Birds – Not the greatest movie of all time or anything, but a cool horror western: Dead Birds (Theatrical Trailer)

    3. Blazing Saddles – A Mel Brooks comedy, so you know it’s quality: Blazing Saddles – Movie Trailer

    4. The Quick and the Dead – I think Sam Raimi did a pretty good job with this. Not often you get to see a female lead in a western: the quick and the dead trailer

    5. High Plains Drifter – Mixing the supernatural and the genre very subtly: High Plains Drifter (trailer)

  25. Shadi Alhusary have you read Vincent Baker’s bit about concentric design with AW?  If not, read it now:


    My advice: design from the inside (the filament) out.  I.e. get the basic moves, harm, and XP ideas mostly worked out before you get too far into playbooks.  (Have rough ideas of where you want to go with playbooks, sure, but as you tinker with the stuff near the core it’ll make you throw out and rethink details further out.)

    Specific personal opinion: decide how you want various “resources” to work before you settle out your basic moves. By resources, I mean:

     – harm/damage/wound rules (how it’s tracked, how much a PC can take, how they’ll recover, how armor works, how that works with NPCs, mental vs. physical, fatigue vs. wounds, etc.)

    – gear/money/ammo/rations/encumbrance (what level of detail do you track? what’s important to track–ammo?–and what’s not? tracking wealth coin-by-coin, or via barter, or a stat, or what?)

    – any spendable currency you want your PCs to have (luck points, stress points, fatigue, etc.), including what they’re used for and what they add to the game and how the PCs get them back

    Your decisions here will set a lot of the tone for the game.  If you don’t have a mechanic for tracking ammo, you’re saying that you don’t want players to worry about that. If you use HP in a game with gun fights, you’re basically saying that PCs can get shot and it doesn’t really matter, they’ll get better quick.  See what I mean?

    Once you feel comfortable with the resources, then work on basic moves.  Then playbooks. 

    And of course it’s all circular.  Any good design involves scrapping hours and hours of work later because you found something near the core isn’t working how you wanted. 

  26. Jeremy Strandberg All of that is so much help! Thank you. Damage is actually something im having a ton of trouble with, because the way you take damage is going to affect every other aspect of the game.

  27. Yeah, I’ve come up with and discarded like… 5(?) damage systems for the game I’m working on.  It’s freakin’ hard.

    If you haven’t already, hop over to www. apocalypse-world.com/forums and check out what folks have posted in the various hacks. The site doesn’t get that much traffic anymore, but it’s a trove of ideas if you’re willing to sift through it all. 

  28. Ok, one more and I’ll stop! Shows!

    The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. – Man I loved this show. All… 1 season of it. Sam Raimi again showing his western chops: “The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.” Opening and Closing Theme Songs (Starring Bruce Campbell)

    Deadwood – Another fantastic western show: Deadwood opening credits

    Hell on Wheels – I think Netflix hit a home run with this one. A fantastic show: Hell on Wheels Intro

    The Wild Wild West – Not that horrible movie that came out, this was the original, very colorful, very imaginative beginning: WILD WILD WEST TV SHOW INTRO: IN COLOR

    Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman – It doesn’t always have to be all killing and violence to be fun! Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman Opening Theme

  29. Jeremy Strandberg Yeah the trouble im having is trying to have a harm system where players can get in lots of gun fights and feel like deadly gunslingers, But also having one where they don’t die when they miss thier first shot. Im not going for a grim setting, more campy, and more light than dark.

  30. There’s a thing that happens in movies/TV (maybe comics, too?): the more deadly the attack, the less likely it is to connect.  In a sword fight, you’re much more likely get punched in the face than run through.  Which is ridiculous from a “realism” stand point but works well from dramatic standpoint. 

    Try something like this:  when you take harm (as a PC), you can reduce it by picking from a list of bad outcomes:

     – 1 harm: you lose your footing/position

     – 1 harm: you drop something or lose your grip

     – 1 harm: you suffer a condition (scared/angry/weak/etc.)

     – 1 harm: you’re out of it for a moment

    You can pick one, and ask the GM to pick another if you want. 

    Whatever’s left you have to use to fill in check boxes like these:

     Banged Up: [] [] [] 

     Out of the action: []

     Wounded: []

     Maimed: []

     Dying: []

     Dead: []

    (Maybe add boxes for armor if that’s a thing you want to include, or use armor to reduce harm.  I also recommend a randomizer for the amount of harm inflict and/or negated, so that fights are surprising.)

  31. As far as harm goes:

    Being shot should be a big deal. Any shot that hits should have the potential to kill you. If you get shot in the head you die. If you get shot in the chest you die immediately or within hours. If you get shot in the belly you die within days. If you get shot in a limb you will survive unless you get gangrene.

    So I would make a move for it.

    When you get shot roll + something.

    ☆On 10+ you are grazed by the bullet. It is a mere scratch.

    ☆On 7-9 you are shot in a limb. Take a debility that will heal in a few days.

    ☆On a fail you are mortally wounded. You may die immediately or it may take days. The GM decides.

    I would make a similar moves for being shot with an arrow or stabbed with a knife and a third move for being hit with a fist or blunt weapon.

  32. Wynand Louw See while thats realistic and makes sense given the context it just doesn’t seem fun for the players. I think ill let them be able to take a bit more punishment than the average person. Or not we’ll see once I get some sleep.

  33. It depends on what genre you want to emulate. In most light hearted westerns the heroes are simply not hit. So actually getting hit should be rare. In more gritty movies you get shot and you die.

    And remember, if the modifier is 2 or 3 mortal wounds should be statistically rare …

  34. Chad Merritt Matthew Lee William Taft Troy Zaremba 

    I tagged my players so that maybe they can weigh in here and tell you a little about how we ran our game. We used the six section harm clock and it seemed to work fine. Just follow the fiction in terms of danger. Nobody died in our one-shot, though I think one or two came close. Most of that was due to TNT and other things that were being thrown around, though.

    Oh, and the stats we had were: Grit, Gumption, Flourish, All-in, and Poker Face

  35. Wynand Louw  If I remember correctly these were what we came up with:

    Grit – Your ability to persevere and push on, take harm, and your fortitude

    Gumption – Your initiative, resourcefulness, and intuition

    All In – Your aggressiveness to achieve, harm, and be forceful

    Flourish – Your gracefulness, articulation, and  quickness

    Poker Face – Your ability to bluff, not crack under pressure, and steel your nerves

    Honestly there were probably better names for all of these, but we were playing Simple World so we just went around the table and came up with stuff that would fit a Western setting. Poker Face ended up being kind of like Charisma. They aren’t the best but we had a lot of fun and no issues came up. Granted it was a one-shot, but still.

    When someone was, for example, trying to shoot another guy, they were going All In on trying to harm them. 

  36. It was a blast. I like the harm clock and the way they do the moves is nice and let’s the players be creative and come up with special moves. Each character in the game had very neat and personalized moves and not something out of a book with no flexibility . Also props to Kirby for running an amazing game.

  37. Wynand Louw We were playing Simple World: http://buriedwithoutceremony.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Simple-World.pdf

    So all of the moves that players created were based on these frameworks:

    • When you do something relating to [specialty], add +1.

    • You have the ability to [do some sort of active special power]. It counts 

    as a basic move using [stat].

    • You have [some passive special power that has a constant effect].

    • You have a [thing]. When applicable, it adds +1 to [stat] and [stat].

    • When you do [specialty], mark XP.

    • Add +1 to [stat].

  38. Okay so would anyone like to follow the progress on this through a community or subreddit or should I just post once I have a playtest going? And once again thanks for all the help!

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