Sunday, November 1, 2015

Third Wave OSR Western Retroclones, Boot Hill, & The Return of the Pulp Western For Your Old School Campaigns

I have a keen interest in post apocalyptic gaming as anyone who reads this blog well knows.The crossover point is of course the Western. The sweet spot are three areas the pulp western, dark fantasy western, and the horror western mixed in with a fair dose of science fantasy.  And lately I've been paying very close attention to the re emergence of the Western rpg in OSR circles because of certain writers in the OSR. Namely the retroclone Tombstone (Alpha Version) By Corey Walden  which has a ton of potential because of its background as a sort of clone of  Boot Hill third edition with lots tweaks by the author to make it solid. You can get a free play test version of his game right over HERE .

Then of course there's DCC's excellent swords and sorcery six gun fanzine, Black Powder, Black Magic which I've heard nothing but good things about the zine from everyone that's gotten into it. There's a ton of potential for near retroclone crossover potential for Crawling Under A Broken Moon with this other resource for DCC.

What really kicked this off today was Mike 'Wraith of Zombie' Evans writing up a copy of High Noon. Apparently its a weird west style OSR game and it looks really nicely done. Very much in keeping with the DYI mentality of  OD&D style Westerns. According to him there are several PC Classes,
"Here are the Weird Classes: Knight of Faith, Shaman, Sorcerer, and Weird Scientist.  Oh and if you want to come back from the dead- well here’s that too." You can find that whole package on his blog right over HERE

There's also the OSRIC retroclone system Revolvers & Wizardry: The Discordant West (MOBI) From Usherwood Publishing  Which has a sort of Weird West playing options for your OSRIC high-fantasy campaign. Basically you can bring clerics, magic users, rangers and thieves to the wild west to face off in showdowns against minotaur cowboys, half-gnoll NPCs or even against the likes of the notorious Jesse James.

There is also the free retroclone system called Go For Your Gun which is one of my favorite Western systems. This system has eleven character classes and some of the better put together systems. This is a great system to play with. Lots of fun and very pulpy material in the game. Did I mention this is free.

Ok, my own experiences with Western old school rpgs goes back to Boot Hill 2nd edition which I became roped into by friends & family. My dad has a keen interest in Westerns and his friends got me involved & taught me the crossover potential with all of the other AD&D 1st edition games. I was late to the party on this game but we played the hell out of this game. Nothing was safe from the group I was involved in, Gamma World, AD&D, & Boot Hill blended together especially with the material from early Dragon Magazine. To say nothing of Metamorphosis Alpha 1st edition.

The intro is what got me interested in the game,
"You step from the cool shade of the Long Branch Saloon into the midday heat of Promise City. Loosening your Colt in its bolster, you look down Main Street and spot the leather and denim-clad stranger who called you out. Citizens of the town scramble for cover as they sense the forthcoming battle. The outlaw doesn't look fast enough to match your draw, but... wait! Your keen eyes catch the unmistakable glint of the sun against gun metal from the roof of the dance hall - the yellow coward has a buddy who's going to shoot you in the back! What will you do? Think fast, or you'll be the next resident of... BOOT HILL!" The Lost Conquistador mine became part of the underworld that connected to any number of campaigns for me over the years. We've used this module again & again to connect with various game worlds over the years.

Today Trey of Dream's From The Sorcerer's Skull fame  has put up a review of the new Kurt Russell movie Bone Tomahawk and has begun to tick off my Western bug again. This is a very vicious and yet entertaining film according to friends who have seen it. This is probably the Western horror film that would lend itself to a Lamentations of the Flame Princess adventure.

So for me this film signals the return to the pulp Western into the mainstream and I have to think we're going to see a ton of new Western retroclones into the wild. I have to say that I'm curious to see what comes down the pike. There are some other great Westerns that I've seen coming down into the mainstream. I now can't wait to see this one!

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