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Western Hero 6th edition


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11 minutes ago, steriaca said:

Well, I don't expect to go too deeply into not quite old west. Fantasy old west can be limited to shaman spells and a small section on stuff like the Catawall, the Jackalope, and not much else. A small paragraph on Alaska and a few pages on Canada and Mexico as they are depected in Westerns. The actual movie and television stuff could just mostly focus on the United States version of the western, the Outlaw Western (where outlaws were the heroes, even if they lie about them), the Spaghetti Western, and that is it for the major stuff (a paragraph or two about western comic books, including the odd mixing of superheros and cowboys, a paragraph or two about western serials, etc).

 

You don't have to do everything, but it would be a sin not to cover Mexico, Alaska, and Canada. You can't tell me Sargent Prestion isn't western because it is set in the Canadian mountains. Zoro is also lumped up with westerns, along with the Cisco Kid.

 

My bad.  I completely misunderstood where you were going.  When I saw the words "Weird West" and "Steampunk" my brain went down a completely different road :nonp:

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The manuscript for Western Hero is at Hero HQ and being worked over, with a new cover being created for it.  I don't know any realistic release date but I hope it will be out by Christmas.  This is to

It has to do with a misunderstanding of the duel.  That's all the showdowns in the streets were, the old fashioned duel.  You know, pistols at dawn, seconds setting up the conditions, etc.  That's wha

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23 minutes ago, archer said:

The real West had a heck of a lot of Mexican and black cowboys. You just never saw those depicted in American Westerns made from the 1920's-1950's because movies were made for white audiences.

True. Prehaps a small boxes on the "real west vs reel west" around the place.

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Yeah that's something I bring up.  It was Mexican Vaqueros who came up with and taught whites almost all of what we understand as cowboys.  And there were a ton of blacks in the old west, working alongside the Mexicans and Whites (and all the rest).  There were areas where racism was a problem but overall what you could do on the job mattered a hell of a lot more than what you looked like.  More so than in the east, in any case.  It was fun digging up some of the less-depicted aspects of the old west frontier.

 

And there is some stuff on Canada, Australia, etc but really is there that much difference between a saloon with a cowboy walking in whether its set in Arizona or in Northern Territory? Some of the slang is different (Stockmen instead of cowboy, etc) but really the core of it is pretty much the same.  Quigley Down Under is basically just a western with different accents.

 

If you want to add in different aspects to the game I put some of that into the book, breaking down the genre into a couple different groupings.  Wild Westerns includes stuff like dinosaurs and magic or aliens.

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It's probably too late, but I'd like to see a section in the book about the legal ramifications of being the first to go for your gun. It wasn't mentioned in the Western Hero book I have (4th maybe?) but it was a big part of many episodes of Gunsmoke and other radio westerns. For example, Marshal Dillan, being a lawman, couldn't reach for his gun until the bad guy did so he'd always have some sort of penalty when in a showdown. 

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On 11/24/2020 at 10:18 PM, Hedgehobbit said:

It's probably too late, but I'd like to see a section in the book about the legal ramifications of being the first to go for your gun. It wasn't mentioned in the Western Hero book I have (4th maybe?) but it was a big part of many episodes of Gunsmoke and other radio westerns. For example, Marshal Dillan, being a lawman, couldn't reach for his gun until the bad guy did so he'd always have some sort of penalty when in a showdown. 

In general yes, but most western media do not concern themselves with that. The good guys can shoot to kill without legal ramifications because they are the law.

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2 hours ago, steriaca said:

In general yes, but most western media do not concern themselves with that. The good guys can shoot to kill without legal ramifications because they are the law.

 

Yep,  too much realism has killed far more games than it helped.  Especially when someone bleeds modern legalisms into a game world.  

I watched a great supers game dissolve in three sessions when the GM and one player decided that insurance and collateral damage lawsuits were necessary for them to "truly immerse and enjoy the game".   Then they whined when the game went from six regulars + GM to just the GM and one player.  Most gamers play for fun, not to simulate the real world. 

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Its not in the book other than GM suggestions about tone in various types of campaigns but a system of honor rules where you get a bonus for "doing the right thing" is worth considering.

 

I wanted to avoid making one set campaign type, although the tone of the book generally assumes that the characters are good guys in a basically mythical old west setting.  There are tips and information on how to run a campaign of bad guys, or super gritty, or whatever though.

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2 hours ago, Spence said:

 

Yep,  too much realism has killed far more games than it helped. 

 

That.  That right there.

People tend to forget that fiction = escapism.

 

We can argue all day long that fiction can be used to "explore x" or "visualize y," but at the end of the day, the _story_ is what sells it, and too much emphasis on any given aspect of the setting will ultimately _detract_ from that story.

 

 

2 hours ago, Spence said:

Especially when someone bleeds modern legalisms into a game world.

 

Not just legalisms, but modern sensibilities of any kind.  Honestly, this is probably why it's _so difficult_ for me to appreciate the bulk of Urban Fantasy.  If I want to read about Ogres slapping the crap out of elves, I don't want to read about the huge social outcry of the blatant ethnism, racism, etc this represents.  No; I'm not a horrible person: if I am reading a modern thriller or action story, then I _demand_ people be mad as Hell about it, but it doesn't belong in certain places.  Tolkien, for example:  there was an evil race that was just evil because it was evil, and it was okay to hate them for their evil.  Not really my bag, but I am much cooler with that than public outcry begging for support and understanding of the orcs, who were good from their point of view, and we should all struggle to understand and accept it.

 

Gad; that's a lousy example, because I am not a big fan of "evil because they are evil," nor of Tolkien, but it was the most high-profile thing that came to mind.

 

Let's go with Conan wenching his way across the continent.  Not cool with modern ethics-- at least in fits, since we have a strange cycle of "sexuality is something to keep under wraps" to "sexuality is the whole purpose of society" and spins round and every every couple of decades, so again-- bad example.  But I trust you folks are getting the idea: if something is part and parcel of the setting, the fastest way to kill that game is to bring in a modern sensibility that beats it into the shape of things today.  I am reading this book or playing this game to get take a few hours to _get away_ from things today!

 

I want my escapism-- not necessarily dumbed down, but simpler, and a bit more clear-cut between good guys and bad guys; right action and wrong action, than what exists right now.

 

I don't want to play the accounting part of life; I don't want to play the courtroom part of life; I don't want to play the insurance agent part of life.  I want to play the adventure, and stop the bad guys, and have fun with some friends.  

 

 

 

2 hours ago, Spence said:

I watched a great supers game dissolve in three sessions when the GM and one player decided that insurance and collateral damage lawsuits were necessary for them to "truly immerse and enjoy the game".   Then they whined when the game went from six regulars + GM to just the GM and one player.  Most gamers play for fun, not to simulate the real world. 

 

 

There are a lot of things over the years I have seen that people feel are "must haves" for a game to "feel a certain way."  The most baffling example of this to me is complex politics in fantasy.  Way to kill fantasy, guys.   Make it _boring_.....   I mean, politics is one of the things I am DEFINITELY TRYING TO ESCAPE FROM FOR A BIT when I decide I want to play a game or read a book.

 

Politics in fantasy?  Frankly, "we've been enemies for years" is good enough, period.  I don't care why; I don't care what has transpired for the last two centuries; I don't care what sneaky subterfuge is currently in play from either side.  For me, it adds absolutely _no_ interest, can actively _disinterest_ me from the setting and the game, and worst of all: someone put a lot of work into alienating me.

 

Anyone else remember that tiny pamphlet that was the original Greyhawk setting?

 

So long as you're appropriating the classic schticks-- wizards, elves, dragons, medieval england-- that little pamphlet is really all I ever needed.  If you're going radically different (Flash Gordon, ancient China, Barsoom, I might need more actual setting detail: races, ethnicities, etc-- but I need damned little politics, hyper-specific legal codes, or absolute moralities, particularly if the exist because that's what we feel right now, and make precious little sense in the setting.  

 

Actually, I don't really need them even if they _aren't_ modern.  It's just that imposing modern sensibilities generally makes pretty much anything _terrible_.  :(

 

 

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3 hours ago, Spence said:

Yep,  too much realism has killed far more games than it helped.  Especially when someone bleeds modern legalisms into a game world.  

 

It isn't "modern legalism" as it's a central part of many old episodes of Gunsmoke such as S1E28 The Killer (with Charles Bronson). And I'm not suggesting it for realism, but to add a psychological element to gun fights; do you draw first and risk being an outlaw or wait until the other guy draws and possibly end up dead? Or do you take insults from a gunfighter or risk your life drawing on him? Anything to make a showdown something other than just a contest of who can roll the best dice. 

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1 hour ago, Hedgehobbit said:

 

It isn't "modern legalism" as it's a central part of many old episodes of Gunsmoke such as S1E28 The Killer (with Charles Bronson). And I'm not suggesting it for realism, but to add a psychological element to gun fights; do you draw first and risk being an outlaw or wait until the other guy draws and possibly end up dead? Or do you take insults from a gunfighter or risk your life drawing on him? Anything to make a showdown something other than just a contest of who can roll the best dice. 

Actually it is, 1950's/60's/70's modern legalisms maybe.  I grew up on the old westerns when they were prime time shows.  And while Gunsmoke did have a tendency to make Dodge City "modern", it was a minority among the many western TV series and movies.  When the White Hat Sheriff (or Marshall or Hero Drifter or etc.) gunned down the Black Hat gunslinger (or evil banker or evil etc.), it was celebrated and in a lot of them the closing scene had them wearing the badge.  Yes, Gunsmoke did add in some modern (at the time) sensibilities.  But many more simply went with good verses evil unless they wanted the threat of Jail/Prison/Hanging to be the dramatic theme that week.  But, taking one series as the end all "how westerns are done" only ignores all the others.

 

For the non-TV side of things, the real world law didn't actually impose a lot of that in the 1880's-1910's outside of the "heavily" populated cities of the coasts.  And even there, not as much as you would think. 

 

In Gunsmoke, Marshall Dillon didn't always wait for the other guy to draw first because of the "law".  The show had the character wait and then win with his blazing speed because it was more dramatic and presented the good guys in the best light.  But it was a TV show made in the 50's/60's/early 70's and just like F.B.I. and Dragnet it portrayed them as squeaky clean to a version 50's/60's TV moral standards where the law are Good Guys with capitol letters.  Were there movies made then that were not flattering to law enforcement?  Yes, but to air on network TV in prime time you had better not.  In the 50's and 60's most TV shows had TV couples in separate beds on the set because the networks wanted to avoid issues with the various "morality in TV" laws/rules.  Were there TV shows in the time that showed a couple in the same bed?  Yes.  But they were outliers and risked or received backlash that the studios preferred to avoid.

 

But whether a lawman has to wait or not will in no way alter whether you are adding in drama and roleplay or just rolling dice.  A PC that plays a principled lawman that would never draw first and risks the Badguy Brothers gunning him down is just as viable as a PC lawman that give a warning to them but draws first because he is outnumbered or the PC lawman that ambushes the dreaded Hole in the Wall gang because it is only him and his trusty deputy and ten of them. 

 

Whether the encounter is played out in heroic drama or just a die rolling exercise has nothing to do with the imposing more modern legal rules as much as the people playing it out. 

 

But you can do what ever you wish and I will not tell you otherwise. 

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That, and honestly:

 

It's perfectly _normal_ -- today or any other time-- for an officer to approach a dangerous situation or a known criminal with his gun _already drawn_.  I'm not talking about "well, guess I'd better walk inside, draw my gun, and tell him he's under arrest," but draw the weapon while getting out of the car, walk ten yards of sidewalk, turn up to the bar, go inside and yell "Police!  Johnny Villain, you're under arrest!"

 

It was no different then.  The whole idea of "well the good guy can't draw until the bad guys" isn't just some strange of modern white-hattery, it's asininely out of step with the sensibilities of _any_ era.

 

As Spence suggested, the biggest reason it existed in the TV shows was simply "Good Lord!  Look at his blazing draw speed!"   This "look how fast he can draw" nonsense reached its zenith, I think, with the short-lived Butch and Sundance, where the camera would cut-- well, the film was cut-- from Sundance kicked back in a booth at a restaurant then "click" laid back, feet on the table, eighteen-inch competition pistol, arm at full extension---    

 

But that's really off track.  Point is:  never happened, anywhere, period, with regard to a lawman, or even a private citizen investigating trouble.  

 

Two guys arguing in a bar?  Well then, _that_ may matter who drew first, but the lawman thing?  Nonsense.

 

 

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Mostly the morality of most television and movie westerns were black and white. Guys with black hats were the bad guys. Indians and hispanics were evil unless they were not. Blacks were rairly seen, and if seen they were seen as victims of the week or slightly below intelligence simpletons with a good heart. Asians were dumb but clever and glad to serve. Unless they are needed to play victims or villains.

 

There are shows which do something with the establishment stereotypes. Either by presenting shades of grey into the show (Gunsmoke), breaking a stereotype or two (In Have Gun Will Travel, the hero Plaidin was protrayed as being highly intelligent and only uses his guns if he absolutely had to. In Kung Fu the hero is a half white half Chinese man who never uses a gun. The hero in Gun Frontier anime is an extremely pore shot but a skilled ninja, and this leaves any shooting to his white sidekick [and is another aisan hero of the old west.].)

 

While racism is rampant in the old west, the hero is kinda expected to have a more modern thinking about race and gender but that should not be presented as the norm. Considering that most cowboys in the real west were black, that indians were more victims than villains and were entitled to an education like the most of us, that not all hispanics were bandits, well you got the idea.

 

Of course, as the GM, you can decide that the west you want to set it in is the enlightened west, where women can have equal education and take any job, minorities are looked upon favorably and a law man can live another law man without judgement. It is up to you after all.

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Duke Bushido! Oh how I was I could rep the bejezzus  outta ya for your complaint of Modern Sensibilties! I read some reviews of Pulp games on Drive Thru RPG and the pretentious complain about how the new work was marred because the authors kept something pulpish (and in their minds cringeworthy) instead of being with modern sensibilities. Gag me with a spoon! 

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11 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

But that's really off track.  Point is:  never happened, anywhere, period, with regard to a lawman, or even a private citizen investigating trouble.  

 

I'm baffled on how to respond because what your saying has nothing to do with what I'm talking about.

 

In the Gunsmoke episode, Charles Bronson, aka The Killer, is goading cowpokes to draw on him and then killing them and claiming self defense. Marshal Dillan knows the guy is trouble but can't arrest him (or shoot him) because he hasn't committed a crime. His only choice is to get The Killer to draw on him which is complicated further by the fact that The Killer is quicker on the draw than the Marshal. This modern white-hattery forms the basis of the drama of the episode.

 

A similar situation occurs in the opening of Fistfull of Dollars, when Clint is demanding the men apologize to his mule to get them to draw their guns so he can kill them all.

 

Or in True Grit, where Rooster is on trial for shooting an unarmed man while serving an arrest warrant. 

 

You can exclude all these iconic scenes as modern legalism, but if you make a western RPG that excludes Gunsmoke, Fistful of Dollars and True Grit, I'm not sure what you have left. 

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It was no different then.  The whole idea of "well the good guy can't draw until the bad guys" isn't just some strange of modern white-hattery, it's asininely out of step with the sensibilities of _any_ era.

 

It has to do with a misunderstanding of the duel.  That's all the showdowns in the streets were, the old fashioned duel.  You know, pistols at dawn, seconds setting up the conditions, etc.  That's what the showdown was, and the whole "don't draw first, etc" thing came from confusion about how that worked.  And by the classic wild west period, the Code Duello was kind of over with, although the concepts of honor and how to deal with each other were real.

 

I mean, there were still real psychos out there who'd do anything without any rules but most people were pretty lawful and were disliked or shunned if they broke the unwritten codes.  One of the biggest mistakes of modern man is to impose our worldview on the past.

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7 hours ago, Hedgehobbit said:

 

I'm baffled on how to respond because what your saying has nothing to do with what I'm talking about.

 

Ah; well then: my apologies for the confusion; let me see if I can make a bit more sense out of it:

 

The idea that the "good guy" can't draw first because he is the good guy is a romantic fictionalization: that is to say, it's a fond remembrance of a time that never was.  It doesn't even hold up to scrutiny: in even a legal duel (those few places that actually allowed them, mind you), _someone_ is going to draw first, whether it's the good guy or the bad guy.  The rules even state that when X thing happens, you fire / turn and fire / whatever the rules for that duel happen to be.

 

Moving outside of duels, a bad guy looking to get the jump on someone will have his weapon out first.  We except that.  But a good guy looking to get the drop on someone will have his gun out first, lawman, hero, or no.  In general, we accept that, too, but for some reason, there was an era in our fiction where "that just wasn't done."   Fortunately, it was not pervasive in our fiction-- even for those genres where it was periodically done.

 

How many times in Gunsmoke did Matt Dillon stiff-walk out into the open to meet a bad guy, or to stall a bad guy, yet someone else was covering him with a rifle?  That is to say, aiming at the bad guy.  We never once thought "why, that dirty Matt Dillon!  And he calls himself a lawman!"   We knew that it made sense, and that it was solid plan to give himself every advantage he could.   For what it's worth, I was never a big Gunsmoke fan, in spite of being a huge fan of westerns.

 

I will say I won't judge the way your play your games.  Seriously: have fun the way you want; that's why you bought it, right?  It makes no nevermind to me if someone absolutely _mandates_ that whoever shot first is the bad guy (in fact, you might come up with some interesting mechanic for sliding reputation up and down from "hero" to "scoundrel" based on who shot who and when.  If so, I'd actually kind of like to hear about it).

 

Defining a genre by one TV show and two movies is a bit bold though  (Particularly considering that someone else doing the same thing may have picked Wagon Train, and that was....   well, it's not one I'd pick myself).  As far as what does that leave?  Well, all the other Clint Eastwood movies, including those where he shoot pretty much _everyone_ by drawing first or walking around with his guns already drawn.  Is he the good guy?  Yes; in most of them, he is.  Is he a good _person_?  No; not at all.  Still, the town is glad he has cleaned out the villains, thanks him, asks him to move on because he might be worse in the long run, and he rides off into what ever quaint Italian villa is just over the next rise.

 

What does removing any three examples of the genre leave?   American history, fairly-well documented, and biased in almost any direction you want, depending on what does or doesn't get included, thirty years of television, fifty years of movies, an untold number of dime adventures, pulps, editorials, wild west shows, comic book series, real tales of real heroes (few) and real outlaws (who tended to found in both camps) that lived and died in places we can still visit, and novels that started printing during the era and continued to be published until this day (though to be fair, about half the newer ones are borderline pornography).  Louis L'Amor is not the only person to have built his writing career around the western genre.

 

As painful as this is to say, Little House on the Prairie was a Western, and, while I haven't thought deeply about it, I can't remember a single gunfight.

 

White Hattery _did_ happen in westerns, and predominantly in westerns of a particular production period, and targeted for a particular audience (television usually, but not always).  But it did not define the genre.   Well, actually, it pretty much defined the entire Singing Cowboy sub-genre, which started with white hats (and clothes festooned with rhinestone wagon wheels) and just sort of stayed there.  The Lone Ranger (not that thing with Johnny Depp; the old novels and movie serials, and even the 70s Saturday Morning Cartoon) was _definitely_ White Hat stuff, and while it was part of the fiction and thus part of the culture, it didn't define the entire genre anymore than did Gunsmoke, Fistful of Dollars, and True Grit (frankly, I liked Rooster Cogburn better), but even in True Grit, there was not White Hattery.  Remember the final showdown?  Ned makes Rooster lose his temper and he charges into the outlaws, killing the Parmalee (sp?) brothers and a couple of others?  Rooster shot first.  Remember that LeBeouf had Ned covered with a rifle the entire fight?  When Ned drew down on Rooster, pinned under his own horse, was it noble White Hat Rooster Cogburn that saved the day, with his own incredible skills and his True Grit?

 

No.  It was LeBeof, a sniper stationed in the hills above.  A sniper, and a U.S. Marshall, if I recall correctly.  For what it's worth, even as crotchety a curmudgeon as Cogburn was in the movie, he was still a much higher-caliber human being than he was presented as in the novel upon which it was based.  So who is the "right Rooster?"

 

 

Anyway-- the point I was making was that one or two tropes cannot define _any_ genre, and in particular, three examples from what was, for decades, the single largest genre of fiction in this nation, cannot hope to fare any better as being defining pieces of what the genre is all about, and should or should not contain.

 

 

Christopher's got his hands full with this project-- not because of everything that this book "should contain," but in just making sure he can present it without a poison bias in any particular direction.  That's not going to be easy.  If I wore a hat more often, I'd take it off to him. 

 

Same with my hair.

 

 

D

 

 

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Something I liked about the old books?

"Just the facts ma'am"

What killed me.over a lot of the 6th ed (and strike force) is it had so much sidebar commentary text. 

 

I don't need every quote from lord of the rings or star wars to get what your talking about and if I don't get it well that's what the source material section is for. Some is nice, some is pleasent even. 

 

If Christopher gives us the meat of the Western genre, what it takes to make a game and run characters I'm happy. You don't need to bloat a book or over-explain to make it good. I still look at Boot Hill [TSR] and enjoyed it for what it was.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Just now, Christopher R Taylor said:

The only quotes I put in to this one were from songs :)

Then I have to expect "The Devil Went Down To Georgia" in the section about Western Fantasy, "Along Came Jones" in the section about Melodrama Western, and "Boy Named Sue" in Comedy Western.

 

As for "Old Town Road", I don't know where that country rap song could fit. Urban Western? There can't be something as Urban Western, can there be? Cowboys driving cows through a modern city.

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43 minutes ago, steriaca said:

Urban Western? There can't be something as Urban Western, can there be? Cowboys driving cows through a modern city.

 

 

If I ever find free time in the middle of the day in the fall, I'll send you some pictures.  I live amongst it, and I'm not even in the west.  For what it's worth, they load them onto trucks or trains to move them through the middle of town.  If they're just crossing the county (mostly dirt roads and river crossing and open fields), the ride four-wheelers and dirt bikes to drive them.

 

Not particularly romantic, I suppose, but I've never seen a dirt bike shy because something spooked it.  :lol:

 

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