Friday, August 23, 2019

OSR Review & Commentary - Hitting The Trails With Mark Hunt's Tall Tails B/X Wild West For A B/X Wild West Campaigns

"Have you ever wished to ride in the old west? To be part of the thrilling days of yesteryear? Well, this is your chance. Well, not you but a pretend you, a character you portray while you play the game.  Just as an Actor would play a part in a Western Movie, you play a character set in the Old west. Your character is in a game world that is both a historical setting and a fantasy setting at the same time, with its legends and tall tales mixed with the finest traditional Spaghetti Westerns.  As a Character in this world you can perform deeds of valor, riches, ruin and redemption. You as the player may find the game world is both familiar and foreign at the same time, raw, savage and waiting to be tamed."

Do you want a Wild West game that can be added into the long desert trails of the Basic or Expert Dungeons & Dragons campaign? Perhaps a time lost gun fighter or a lone scout of the Wild West. This game slots right into the Basic Dungeons & Dragons  game system with little to no fan fare.

This game brings home the feel of the old West hard & dangerous the way the West should be. I bought this game last night because Tall Tails B/X Wild West  was on sale for $1.99! 
Mark Hunt quietly develops games & supplements by himself without Kickstarter or much fanfare. But don't let that fool you Mark has been a veteran designer of the game industry for many years. This brings me to Tall Tails B/X Wild West this game clocks in at around ninety six pages. I've been friends with Mark Hunt for many years now but its time to hit the back paths of gunslingers, low-down desperadoes, singing cowboys or snake oil salesmen which are the actual PC classes of this low down twisted game of gun fights, exploration, & there's a feel of the Old West Pulps here. The rpg  system is primed to B/X OSR  Dungeons & Dragons purely. There's just enough material here to give the players & the DM enough to get started in their own version of the Old West. Lots of good use of public domain Old Western artwork & the layout is readable very nicely done for the eyes. The game is very much in the cut & dry B/X Dungeons & Dragons style.

Tall Tails B/X Wild West covers everything from designing a home base domain town or location to a wild west ranch spread very important aspect for adventurers, outlaws, & Northern green horns;
"More than just a collection of ramshackle buildings where dusty cowboys blew off steam before getting back on the trail, or a backdrop to a show down, towns in the Old West played in important part in developing the frontier. Towns served as transport waypoints, financial hubs, communication centers, and helped provide goods, serves, and entertainment" Hunt understands the importance of having the PC's party stretch into their element. Case in point is the adversaries section here's one of the most dangerous foes a group of PC's can run across an NPC gun fighter; "Legendary Gunman
This is one of the many deadly gunmen that roamed the old west. 
"Human Gunslinger: HD 6; AC 0; Atk 2 weapon (1d8); Move 120’; Save 13; AL N; XP 750; Special: +2 to hit in in a showdown. +6 initiative. " Everything here is easily understood & applable to both OSR & old school games. This is very important for DM's looking to add elements of the Old West to their games. But there's additional material to go with Tall Tales BX Wild West RPG New classes is a 'pay what you want' add on for Tall Tails B/X Wild West.  Its seven essential pages of PC classes that adds in three new classes: the Gambler, the Preacher and the lawman. These are solid classes that any fan of the Western genre knows exactly what these classes can do & how to put them to use as a player or dungeon master. This is an OSR system  like B/X Essentials by Gavin Norman & like Norman's systems BX Wild West RPG New classes  is a core add on to have. This is a must pdf if you intend to run this system. 

Already I can hear the laughter but if we want to add in D&D elements its gonna be an issue? What if Frank Mentzer did all of the hard work for you and all of the heavy lifting?! Not only can you use B/X Essentials but you could with a bit of old school effort grab your trusty Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia there's all the monsters you'll ever need! Aaron Allston, &  Frank Mentzer have done all of the heavy lifting for you & with the  Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia you've got years of Old West campaign play. 

Now I've heard from different folks that many of these OSR retroclone system are not OGL well  Tall Tails B/X Wild West isn't one of those; "All artwork, proper names, logos, and presentation are product identity. The names “Tall Tales” and “B/X Western Tall Tales” are product identity. All text not declared as Open Game Content is product identity.
All text and tables in the following sections are Open Game Content: ability scores, sequence of play, adventuring rules, basic combat procedure, other combat issues, standard combat charts, potions. OPEN GAME LICENSE Version 1.0a" Which means that already outfits like Surreal Estate Games have created basic Wild West adventures titles like Tumbleweed Tales Volume 1 by Robert Garitta fills that gap nicely. We'll be reviewing this set of adventures soon enough. But your ready to Country & Western your way across the B/X West!

 But this isn't the only Basic Dungeons & Dragons style OSR options which applies to  Tall Tails B/X Wild West. There's also Dark Dungeons by Blacky the Blackball which can be used with Tall Tails B/X Wild West. These two used together allow the dungeon master to give a much more OSR feel to their Wild West adventures and includes the rules for Spelljammer style ships! 

Because of the way that Tall Tails B/X Wild West is set up its a solid OSR Wild West tool kit that provides the DM & his or her players with a solid Wild West game. The clean design & layout are a hall mark of OSR design Mark Hunt has a winner on his hands like his own version of  the Gang Busters Rpg. 

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