Saturday, September 3, 2016

OSR in the American West. Traditional and Spaghetti Western Rules Redux.



Much like my redone fantasy classes there has been a bit more play testing and revision for my Western games rules, primarily class revisions of certain abilities and the inclusion of the Detective and Pugilist classes.

The original post can be found here.

The Spaghetti Western vs  Traditional Westerns:
The game can be run one of two way: the Clint Eastwood, Italian Spaghetti Westerns which were focused on style and violence or the traditional John Wayne, Randolph Scott westerns which were grounded in more 'realism' and fun action. This last category also includes TV shows such as Bonanza, Wanted Dead or Alive, the Rifleman, etc.

Spaghetti Western heroes are almost superhuman in their abilities to fast draw, shoot accurately, and take damage and survive. Traditional Westerns are often more focused on character than combat, although that is an integral part of the genre. Traditional Western characters are closer to real life folk in their skills and durability.  To reflect this I implement the following:

Attribute Bonuses/Penalties:
Either the standard Swords & Wizardry +1 or Labyrinth Lord’s +1 to +3.
For Traditional: I prefer the S&W method.
For Spaghetti's: I prefer the latter as it gives a wider range to class special abilities and to Fast Draw.

Hit Points
Maximum hp at first level.
OPTION: For grittier Western games, especially a very Traditional or historical based game, you can even limit the characters' hp's to a maximum of 5 levels.
Hit bonus, Saving Throws, etc all continue past level 5, but the characters hp are maxed out at 5.

Level Limit 
12 or 20 based on Campaign type.
For more Traditional games the characters are limited to level 12. They are still competent but do not reach the more pulpish or cinematic characters of a Spaghetti Westerns  level 20 game. In Traditional Westerns even the best heroes are rarely beyond level 5 or 6 in skill. Higher levels than this should be ultra-rare, perhaps the best in the West.

For Both Genres:
Armor Class
Normal Armor class, and modifiers are used.
Firearms ignore the first four points of personal armor. For example: Plate –6 [+6] would only give protection of –2 [+2].

Attack
+1 hit/level (Max +15) or use Base Rule Books bonus as a Fighter. You're call. I prefer the former to keep up with NPC's, creatures in combat.

Class Ability Formula 
Traditional: 10+ level+Ability Score Bonus.
Spaghetti: 10+1/2 level+Ability Score Bonus.
Untrained: Ability check for Riding, Climbing, etc, 5 + Ability
Modifier for trained Abilities such as Open Locks, Tracking, etc.
DM will add or subtract modifiers for ease/difficulty of task.

Experience
Each class advances as a Fighter.

Multiclassing 
Multiclassing is allowed for a stronger skill set. To hit bonuses and Hit Points add on normally. For Saving Throws take the best of the two classes. Class abilities do not stack use the best of both.

Saving Throw(s)
As Fighter

Starting Money
Characters begin with 3d6 x $20 as first level characters. Characters starting off at higher levels receive an amount of beginning money equal to 3d6 + the characters level x $40 or whatever their DM feels is appropriate to the game.

Character Classes
Cowboy
Detective
Gambler
Gunslinger
Lawman
Pugilist
Scout
Soldier

Cowboy (Cowpoke, Singing Cowboy, Gaucho, Cavalry, etc.)
Hit Die Type 1d8, After reaching 10 hit dice, the Cowboy gains only 2 hit point per level
Armor Permitted: Any
Weapons Permitted: Any
Prime Attribute (5% experience bonus): Con 13+

Riding
A Dexterity check to guide his animal. This includes situations such as staying mounted while the horse is bucking or upset, calming and controlling the horse, guide it with his knees so the rider can shoot or rope, etc.
The Cowboy gets to add a +1 bonus to Riding Dexterity checks at first level and at later levels.
Traditional: 3, 6, 9, and 12 
Spaghetti: 5, 10, 15, and 20 

In addition, the Cowboy can do the following:
Use his Dex bonus to increase his mount's AC.
With a successful check, the Cowboy can drop along the side of the horse for cover, gaining a +4 cover bonus to his AC.

With a successful check the Cowboy can fall from a horse and take half damage (see Riding in Rules Clarifications: Miscellaneous.)

With a successful check the Cowboy can coax the horse to leap obstacles and the Cowboy
can hang on while the animal is performing the maneuver.

Roping
The Cowboy receives a +2 bonus with the lariat (ranged attack).

Shooter
Being proficient with arms is a necessity on the trail. With snakes, coyotes, bandits, and rustlers you have to learn to defend yourself.
The Cowboy receives a +1 to hit with firearms. 

Stamina
Riding the range toughens a man. +2 to Saving Throws vs disease and poison.

Detective (Pinkertons, Reporters, Lawyers, Private Investigators, etc.)
Hit Die Type 1d6 per level up to 9th, +1 hp at 10+.
Armor Permitted: Any
Weapons Permitted: Any
Prime Attribute (5% xp bonus) Int 13+

Assess
The Detective can use this ability to observe a person for a single round and then make a conclusion as to that persons age, character level, nationality, recent activities, etc based on the Detective's experience and training. 
Traditional: 10+ level+Int bonus.
Spaghetti: 10+1/2 level+Int bonus.

Contacts
With a successful Charisma check the Detective may ask one favor of a contact such as a county coroner to view a body, a lawman to talk to a prisoner, etc. The favor will be things not generaly available to the average citizen. The contact will not endanger himself or his employment and may negotiate a payment or favor in return if the request by the Detective is difficult or unpleasant. 
The Detective recieves a bonus to the Charisma check at higher levels:
Traditional: 3, 6, 9, and 12 
Spaghetti: 5, 10, 15, and 20 

He may call upon these contacts twice per adventure at first level. He may add an extra time
for each bonus to his Charisma check due to higher levels. 

Deduction
The Detective, after reviewing clues, interviewing witnesses, visiting crime scenes, etc can make a Deduction check.
Traditional: 10+ level+Int bonus.
Spaghetti: 10+1/2 level+Int bonus.

If successful the Detective may ask the DM a single yes or no question which the DM must answer honestly. The Detective can do this once per adventure at 1st level and can ask more questions at higher levels.
Traditional: 3, 6, 9, and 12 
Spaghetti: 5, 10, 15, and 20 

Observation
The Detective has a keen eye for details in the world around him. When actively looking for clues or other hidden objects he has a 1-2 on a 1d6 of finding them. These could be hidden bloodstains, footprints, hidden doors, hearing noise, etc. The DM can modify this for difficulty. 

Gambler (Gambler, Con-Man, Thief, etc.)
Hit Die Type 1d6, After reaching 10 hit dice, the Gambler gains only 1 hit point per level
Armor Permitted: Leather or lighter.
Weapons Permitted: Any
Prime Attribute (5% xp bonus) Int 13+
Backstab
When attacking with surprise, from behind, the Gambler gains +4 to hit and inflicts double damage. At levels 5-8, damage is tripled, and from a Gambler above level 8 such an attack inflicts quadruple damage.

Fast Talk
With a bit of conversation, the Gambler is able to attempt to befriend, persuade, charm, or outright con an individual to his way of thinking. After 2d6 minutes of cajoling, flattering, drinking, etc. the victim of the Fast Talk must make a Saving Throw. This Saving Throw has a cumulative -1 as the Gambler gains higher levels.
Traditional: 3, 6, 9, and 12 
Spaghetti: 5, 10, 15, and 20 

Gambling
A gambler, a card sharp and sometimes a cheat, supplementing his living by the cards, dice, and his wits. At 1st level and at 3rd, 6th, 9th, and 12th the Gambler gains a cumulative +1 bonus to his gambling checks.

Hear Noise
The Gambler has honed his senses to work better in the dark. His chance to hear noise is 3 in 6 at first level increasing to 4 in 6 at 3rd level, 5 in 6 at 7th level, and 6 in 6 at 10th level. 
To use this ability he must stop all activity and concentrate.

Open Locks
Gamblers are skilled at picking locks, opening safes, etc. Some are difficult and may require a penalty to the open roll. 
Traditional: 10+ level+Dex bonus.
Spaghetti: 10+1/2 level+Dex bonus.
Good tools may grant a small bonus just as inferior tools may incur a small penalty.

Pick Pocket
The Gambler is often called upon to manipulate small objects, such as a card, coin, derringer, or small knife in his line of work, as well as picking the occasional pocket. 
Traditional: 10+ level+Dex bonus.
Spaghetti: 10+1/2 level+Dex bonus.

If the Gambler fails his roll the victim has a 1-2 in 6 chance of detecting the manipulation, pick pocket attempt, etc. A Dex bonus will drop the chance to 1 in 6.

 If the Gambler rolls a natural 20, he has been spotted by his victim or victims if he is picking a pocket, cheating, etc.

Gunslinger (Gunman, Bounty Hunter, etc)
Hit Die Type 1d8, After reaching 10 hit dice, the Gunslinger gains only 2 hit point per level
Armor Permitted: Any
Weapons Permitted: Any
Prime Attribute (5% xp bonus) Dex 13+

Fast Draw
The Gunslinger gains a cumulative +1 bonus to Fast Draw initiative at first level and later levels. See below.
Traditional: 3, 6, 9, and 12 
Spaghetti: 5, 10, 15, and 20 

The Gunslinger does not receive a -4 penalty to attack for drawing a weapon and attacking in the same round.

If group initiative is used, the Gunslinger still rolls for individual iniative (1d6+Dex Bonus.)

Fast Draw initiative is different than normal initiative. Roll 1d6 + Dex bonus + Gunslinger bonus. However, against opponents who already have their weapons in hand, the initiative total is considered to be half (round up.) The usually high Gunslinger Dex and the Gunslinger’s Fast Draw bonus will still beat many foes who are already armed and ready, even at half the normal value. Therefore, if facing down a Gunslinger who has a holstered weapon and his partner who has a pistol in hand, you would have your full Fast Draw initiative vs. the holstered gun, but only half of the number vs. the pistol already in hand.

Shooter
The bread and butter of the Gunslinger. He receives a +1 to hit with firearms. 

Steely Gaze
At 1st level, the Gunslinger can intimidate a number of creatures with HD equal to his level.
The creatures must be able to see the Gunslinger’s stare to be affected. The creatures are allowed a Saving Throw to avoid this effect. Those that fail suffer a –2 to all attacks on the Gunslinger. Most will flee; only the most determined will stay and fight.
This ability can be used once per day per level.

Lawman (Sheriff, Texas Ranger, Pinkerton, etc.)
Hit Die Type 1d8, After reaching 10 hit dice, the Lawman gains only 2 hit point per level
Armor Permitted: Any
Weapons Permitted: An
Prime Attribute (5% xp bonus) Cha 13+

Badge
The Lawman has authority and can use it. He can arrest anyone who has committed a crime or who he suspects of committing a crime and hold them for trial. Once per day per level, he can attempt to use his authority to intimidate one person. If the victim fails a Saving Throw, he will obey the order given by the Lawman, be it drop his gun, come with the Lawman, etc. 
The victim will never do anything irrational, such as shooting himself or his friends. 

Deputies
The Lawman  can deputize and pay a posse. The number of deputies is limited to the characters Charisma score plus half of his level (round up), and it is recommended that most are first level characters. None will be of a higher level than the Lawman. The posse will stay with the Lawman for a number of days equal to 1d3 days plus his Charisma bonus. They will be loyal up to a point: nobody is going to stick for very long with a man who is making poor decisions and probably leading them to their death.

Knowledge
Through both informants and official channels, the Lawman is often in the know on important information, both locally and territorial. Such pertinent information may include who a famous gunman may be, who started a feud with who, or if the mysterious stranger who just rode in town is wanted. The base chance for success is 
Traditional: 3, 6, 9, and 12 
Spaghetti: 5, 10, 15, and 20 

Shooter
Lawmen have to be able to defend themselves and their citizens.
He receives a +1 to hit with firearms. 

Pugilist (Boxer, Brawler, Martial Artist, etc.)
Hit Die Type 1d8, After reaching 10 hit dice, the Pugilist gains only 2 hit points per level
Armor: The Pugilist only gains his AC bonus and Combo ability if in leather or lighter.
Weapons Permitted: Any
Prime Attribute (5% xp bonus) Dex 13+

Fisticuffs (Unarmed Combat)
The Pugilist hits harder and more often with his natural weapons and can defend against Melee/Unarmed attacks better than most other characters.

He gains a +1 to hit with Unarmed Attacks and receives the following bonuses while in Melee/Unarmed Combat.
Combo
The Pugilist can attack with two unarmed attacks around at no penalty. This ability can  only be used if he is only doing two unarmed attacks. It cannot be mixed with a melee or ranged attack. Use normal two-weapon rules for those situations.

KO 
Once per day per 2 levels (round up) the Pugilist can fire off a haymaker/power kick/etc. 
The attack is made at a -2 penalty to hit. If successful the damage is x2, x3 if a natural 20 is rolled. 

Second Wind
If the Pugilist takes a full round to rest he can regain 1d4 hit points. He must do no other action in this round but rest. He cannot defend himself. His AC is 10 + light armor modifier; he receives no Dex or Fisticuffs bonus.
This ability can be used a limited number of times per day.
Traditional: 3, 6, 9, and 12 
Spaghetti: 5, 10, 15, and 20 

Scout (Army Scout, Mountain Man, Tracker, etc.)
Hit Die Type 1d6+1, After reaching 10 hit dice, the Scout gains only 1 hit point per level
Prime Attribute (5% xp bonus) Dex 13+

Awareness
One of the most important abilities of the Scout is his sharp senses. The ability to detect
danger is one of the key abilities of the and can make the difference between life and death.
-1 to be surprised.
+1 to surprise.

Backstab
The Scout, once he has found his target, is adept at attacking from surprise to kill the prey.
+4 to attack. x2 damage. x3 damage at levels 5-8. x4 damage at 9th level.
This also includes ranged attacks until the target(s) are aware they are being fired upon.

Survival
The Scout's ability to live off of the land and survive, this check is rolled in addition to normal foraging rolls. The DM may modify this check for plentiful or exceptionally harsh terrain. 
Traditional: 10+ level+Int bonus. 
Spaghetti: 10+1/2 level+Int bonus.

Track
Scouts are also capable trackers, often employed as guides and hunters. This roll can be modified by the DM for circumstances such as tracking across soft mud, tracking across snow, the quarry is trying to hide their tracks, etc. 
Traditional: 10+ level+Wis bonus.
Spaghetti: 10+1/2 level+Wis bonus.

Soldier (Military, Fighter, Brave, etc.)
Hit Die Type 1d8, After reaching 10 hit dice, the Soldier gains only 2 hit points per level
Prime Attribute (5% xp bonus) Str 13+
Defense
The Soldier is better at avoiding damaging due to dodging, blocking, parrying, etc.
+1 to AC.

Melee Fighter
Gains a +1 to attack with melee weapons.

Shooter
He receives a +1 to hit with firearms. 

WEAPONS AND RULES
The firearm categories have been kept as generic as possible. Unless the weapon is a gimmick, it does not matter what make or model it is. Only that it is a lethal weapon in the hands of the hero. For game purposes we are only concerned with initiative, rate of fire, range, damage, type of ammunition for reloading times, and how many bullets/charges the firearm holds.

Initiative
Normal combat initiative is 1d6 + Dex bonus. The Gunslinger’s Fast Draw bonus only applies to Fast Draw initiative.

Fast Draw Initiative 
Fast Draw initiative is different than normal initiative. Roll 1d6 + Dex bonus + Gunslinger bonus. However, against opponents who already have their weapons in hand, the initiative total is considered to be half (round up.) The usually high Gunslinger Dex and the Gunslinger’s Fast Draw bonus will still beat many foes who are already armed and ready, even at half the normal value. Therefore, if facing down a Gunslinger who has a holstered weapon and his partner who has a pistol in hand, you would have your full Fast Draw initiative vs. the holstered gun, but only half of the number vs. the pistol already in hand.

 Fast Draw Initiative: Equipment Modifiers
Short Barrel +1 Fast Draw Initiative, extra –1 to range penalties
Long Barrel -1 to Fast Draw Initiative, +1 bonus to range penalties
Flap/Army Holster -1 to Fast Draw Initiative
Fast Draw Holster 0 penalty to Fast Draw Initiative
Swivel Rig 0 penalty to Fast Draw Initiative
Spring-sleeve Holster +1 to Fast Draw Initiative

Rate of Fire
Anyone can make one attack per round with no penalty.

Single Action Pistols
The shooter can make two attacks with a -3 penalty per shot.

Double Action Pistols
With a double-action pistol, the gunman cannot fan the hammer, but he can take two shots per round with a –2 per shot.

Fan the Hammer/Flick the Lever
Holding down on the trigger and fanning the hammer of a single-action revolver with your off hand or quickly flicking the lever and pulling the trigger of a lever-action carbine or rifle to fire rapidly.
3 attacks, -4 per attack.

Gatling/Automatics
Can fire 3 per round with no penalty per shot  or 6  per combat round with a –4 penalty per shot.

Aiming with Firearms
Take a round, gain a +2 bonus to one shot. This can be done for two straight rounds for a total bonus of +4.

Two Weapons
You can use the multiple attack options with this. Example: firing two double action pistols twice.
-2 for each shot is added to the Two Weapon penalties for a total of -4 primary/-6 secondary with a total of four shots.
-2 penalty primary hand, -4 off hand. This is reduced with Point Blank fire (see Range below.)

Range
Firearms have five range increments, and suffer a standard –2 penalty per increment after the first.
Point Blank: Within 10' of a target (5' for derringers) the shooter gains a +2 bonus to hit.

Damage
The damage for firearms depends on which type of Western you are running.
For Traditional use the standard multi-polyhedron dice for non-open ended damage.
For Spaghetti's the damage uses d6's and is open-ended: if you roll a six on the dice, roll it again and add the dice. Do this until you don’t get anymore sixes.
The damage listed before the backslash is for Traditional, damage after is for Spaghetti.

Ammunition Type and Reloading
A cartridge weapon can be reloaded with three bullets per round. No other action except movement can be attempted while reloading. However, a shooter can, if desperate, reload one shell and attack with a –4 penalty for rushing the attack.

Cap and ball firearms require two rounds to load a single load, or one round to replace a cylinder. No other action except movement may be attempted when reloading. If you’re reloading pistol loads one at a time, you cannot move faster than a walk and still reload. Cylinders can be reloaded on the run,

Firearms which require a magazine (Gatling) take only one round to reload and ready. However a desperate shooter can hurry the reload and attack with a -4 penalty in addition to normal penalties for rushing the attack.

Firearms Categories
Pistols
Most pistols of the mid-to-late 1800’s are single-action revolvers. Double-actions exist, but are not as common and are more costly, not replacing the single-action until the end of the century. Most pistols hold six bullets, although some rare models, such as the LeMat revolver, held up to 9 shots. Most of these non-six shooters suffered from delicate mechanical parts or odd caliber bullets which were difficult to find and purchase. Almost all revolvers during the Civil War are cap and ball, with the rare exception such as the LeMat and it’s hard to find ammo. Derringers were fairly common, multi-barreled small pocket pistols, easily hidden and often used as a means of last resort self defense.

Rifles
Rifles come in a large variety of forms and are chambered for large rifle rounds. Civil war rifles were almost universally cap and ball single shot rifles. Later, when metallic cartridges became widely available, many of the older single shot were modified to accept the new ammunition. Unlike the smaller cartridge repeating rifles below, those chambered for rifle cartridges held only six shots.

The first widely produced repeating rifles were the smaller cartridge 7 shot Spencer rifle and the 15 shot Henry. Before these came about, there was the rare cap and ball revolving rifle such as the 6 shot Colt Revolving Rifle, and the Spencer and Henry Rifles gave way to the more reliable 15 shot Winchester Rifles.

The Buffalo rifle is a powerful weapon, often used to bring down large game such as bear, elk, and most famously, buffalo. The most common such rifle is the Sharps big single shot .50. European models exist as large-bore elephant rifles (1 shot or 2 shot for double barrel models) used for safari to bring down big game such as rhino and elephant.

Carbines
Carbines are essentially shortened rifles, often chambered with pistol cartridges, and made for ease of use while in the saddle or on a wagon. During the Civil War, many were cap and ball models, with the occasional metallic cartridge carbine. Like rifles, carbines come in all types: single shot (1 shot Military Carbine), revolving cylinder (6 shot Colt Revolving Carbine), and lever action (7 shot Spencer Carbine, 12 shot Winchester).

Heavy carbines are carbines chambered with a larger cartridges, specifically lower-velocity rifle rounds. The larger rounds only allow for 6 bullets to be loaded in the repeating models.

Shotguns
Most common shotguns were 16 gauge. Models are single barrel, double barrel, or the very rare 5 shot revolving shotgun (Colt.) In the late 1880’s lever action shotguns were introduced (5 shot) and in the 1890’s pump, or slide-action, shotguns first appeared (5 shots).

Coach guns were shorter barrel versions of the shotgun, named so because of their use on guards riding “shotgun” on stagecoaches. They are much easier to use on horseback than a regular shotgun, and most shotguns in the hands of gunmen, outlaws, and lawmen will be these shorter models.

Sawed off shotguns have their barrels cut extremely short, often with most of the stock removed, to form a lethal pistol sized shotgun.

Gatling Gun
The most famous repeat-fire weapon of the west. Capable of throwing out a tremendous amount of bullets, it was hand-crank operated, had multiple rotating barrels which facilitated cooling and synchronized the load-fire process, and had a top fed 50 shot magazine. After 1871 a 400 shot ammo drum was available.
Expensive and deadly, it is rarely seen outside of the military.

My post on unusual weapons found in the Spaghetti Westerns can be found here

MISCELLANEOUS
Binding Wounds
As this is inherently a no magic setting, it is recommended that this optional rule is used, allowing characters to regain 1d4 hit points  immediately after combats.

Gambling
1d6 + Int modifier, highest roll wins. Modifiers such as the Gamblers gambling ability apply.

Cheating
Dexterity check for a +1 bonus.
 A Gambler may substitute his Pick Pockets roll if he has a better chance.

 If the cheater fails his roll the victim has a 1-2 in 6 chance of detecting the manipulation, pick pocket attempt, etc. A Dex bonus will drop the chance to 1 in 6.

 If the cheater rolls a natural 20, he has been spotted by his victim or victims.

Riding
Dexterity check with modifiers as decided by the DM.
Falling off a moving horse or wagon does damage depending on the horses movement. For careful the damage is 1d4, for walking the damage is 1d6, and for running the damage is 2d6.

Roping
Normal ranged attack roll with a range of 30’. Once roped, the target can immediately make a Saving Throw at –4 to slip out of the lariat. If the victim fails, he or it is hooked on the cowboys line and can be dragged for 1d6. To avoid this the victim can immediately make a Str check (-4) vs. the cowboy’s Str to pull the rope out of the cowboy’s hands.

A called shot at –4 can be made to rope a leg, weapon, etc. The victim must make a penalized Str roll, as above, vs. the cowboy’s strength to retain a weapon, not have a leg pulled out from under him, etc.

Stampede!
If the character is caught in a stampede, he can either take cover or get stomped.
Sturdy cover such as a large boulder, tree, or a good thick wall will protect the character.
If no cover is available, the character can try to kill one of the stampeding animals and take cover behind its carcass. If this happens, the character automatically takes only half damage and can make a Saving Throw to take no damage at all.

If no cover is available the character takes 6d6 damage as he is stomped and gored by the panicked herd.

2 comments:

  1. One thing. Nobody with a lick of sense carried a six-shooter with six rounds loaded.
    [If the hammer was struck or bumped it could fire a round, so they kept the chamber under the hammer empty for safety. Cocking the hammer would advance the cylinder to put a loaded chamber under the hammer.]
    They would only load five. Maybe the might load a sixth if they knew trouble was a coming and they were going to keep that pistol in hand until it did.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yep. Also heard some gunmen a but of money rolled in an empty chamber for a funeral.

    ReplyDelete