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Western Hero Showdown Thoughts


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Standard times:

Draw weapon - 1/2 Phase

Cock a single action revolver - 1/2 Phase

Fire - 1/2 Phase

 

So, as most revolvers are single action, a character without Fast Draw skill cannot fire the same Phase as they draw and cock.  That gives anyone with Fast Draw a huge advantage.  (A double action revolver cocks and fires in the same 1/2 Phase Action.)

 

Using the GM Permission note on p. 73, "a character can make a DEX or Fast Draw roll to cock a pistol taking zero phase, or to do so while on the move. A failed roll results in no special penalty, it just takes the usual Half Phase to cock."

 

I'd allow a DEX roll at -3 (seems appropriate, as a 3-point Fast Draw provides the same roll as DEX and a Skill should always be better than a raw Attribute roll).  Under that, our gunslinger has a Fast Draw roll to draw his revolver as a Zero Phase Action; then if he blows that roll, has another Fast Draw roll to cock the revolver and still get his shot off during the same Phase.  Our cowboy (who has no Fast Draw Skill) draws and then has a DEX -3 roll (9-) to cock the revolver and get his shot off during the same Phase - if he blows that roll, he has to wait until his next Phase.

 

Without the option, a character without Fast Draw simple cannot get a shot off in one Phase, starting from a holstered single action revolver.

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Yeah its going to depend on what kind of game you want.  More on that in a moment.

 

Realistically, there are five actions in play here:

  • grabbing the gun
  • drawing the gun
  • cocking the gun
  • aiming the gun
  • firing the gun

In game terms several of those are bundled together into single actions, like grabbing and drawing the gun, or aiming and firing the gun.

 

Realistically, it takes actual training to get a single action revolver out and fire it with any sort of speed.  I mean you can shoot yourself in the foot fumbling with the hammer or yank it out in a hurry and cock it then fire at the sky, but to actually pull off an actual attack action takes actual skill beyond "I know which end the bullet comes out of".  That skill takes practice and in the game is the form of "Fast Draw".  Remember, you only roll Fast Draw if you're finding out who goes first, just tugging the gun out to fire doesn't require a roll.

 

An untrained normal person with just base familiarity with a pistol is not going to get that thing out, cock it, and fire it at someone in a single phase, realistically and historically.  I've literally watched regular people try it and its a lot of fumbling and aiming.  its a conscious, aimed action to cock the hammer back that takes concentration and time, the same with each action. 

 

However, even a 1-point familiarity with Fast Draw will allow you to pull this off smoothly and take only a half phase to fire..

 

That said... some genres, its going to be common that everyone can do it.  Or it may be in some genres that the technical aspects of the pistol are irrelevant: they just pop up and fire when you want them to, and never run out of bullets.  All of these are valid approaches to a frontier game, as shown in various media through the years.

 

So in some games, you have to buy fast draw.  Some games, the GM might rule that cocking a pistol is an action that takes no time (but can only be used on a character's phase).  Some games its not even a matter of timing or rolls, you move your hand and shoot the target.

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20 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

However, even a 1-point familiarity with Fast Draw will allow you to pull this off smoothly and take only a half phase to fire..

 

Ah, I had misread Fast Draw - I thought you had to roll to draw as a Zero-Phase Action, but it's automatic (no roll).  Thanks.

 

So under RAW, untrained is draw/cock/fire - 1.5 Phases, while trained (Fast Draw 8- or better) is draw/cock/fire - 1 Phase with a single action revolver.  Using a double action shaves .5 Phase off of either.

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  • 1 month later...

I always assume the Shootout was the inspiration for the last paragraph under Fast Draw:

Quote

If two characters simultaneously use Held Actions, a character who succeeds with a Fast Draw roll (instead of a DEX Roll) acts first.

I assume both fighters have Held Actions, and so go with a contested Fast Draw roll to see who gets off their shot first. If they tie, then who has the higher DEX (including Lightning Reflexes, if applicable). If that is also exactly equal, then I have them both roll Attack Rolls at the same time; if they both succeeded on the Attack Roll by the same amount, then I rule the bullets collided in mid-air.

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Quote

I always assume the Shootout was the inspiration for the last paragraph under Fast Draw:

 

That is my expectation as well, when I read what Matt Forbeck wrote about Showdowns in the original WH.  I think he was working under the assumption that a Shootout was basically two opponents with Fast Draw, not a couple ordinary people.  He just wanted to formalize it and set up some standard modifiers

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