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BazKha

Old West for Cthulhu

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BazKha

Hello fellow keepers, what supplement could you advice for running Old West campaign [1865-1895]?

 

Last year I run Sundown, but I want to avoid pulp element`s trying mostly keep pure.

 

At present moment my must find and read list consist of:

 

Night of the Kachina

Devil's Gulch

WOC #2, 3

 

Maybe someone already run such kind of staff and could share experience or advice?

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Tony Williams

Night of the Kachina is a complete waste of money - it's probably one of the worst CoC monographs that was put out.

 

The 3 scenarios are short and not very exciting and it wastes lots of full page space, taken up by NPC and monster stats.

 

Avoid!

 

Devil's Gulch is quite a fun supplement which gives details and stats of the town, it's surroundings and population and has two adventures set in the area. It's "weird west" so there are some mad scientist, supernatural and magic things/people detailed, but you could tone these down for a more Purist town setting.

 

It also gives some details of BRP rule adaptations for the western setting.

 

I'd say it's worth the money.

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MrHandy

I've played a couple of scenarios using the rules from WoC #2 (The Good, The Bad, and The Utterly Insane). They're a lot of fun, but they are pulpy. However, you can just leave out the pulpier elements and get good use out of them.

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JeffErwin

Judas' Crossing for Aces and Eights, while for a different system, is an unparalleled level of detail for a Western (purist) town. I recommend it.

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KRoss

If Chaosium would get off their keesters and publish it, I've written/compiled a 3-book set of Old West CoC books, the 1st a sourcebook, the other 2 adventure collections. In addition to several scenarios, each of the 3 books features a couple of mini-sandbox settings in a variety of flavors (mining camp, Tex-Mex border town, riverboat, Indian country fort, etc).

 

While you're waiting, you might check out the two Aces High monographs for BRP, published by Chaosium and probably still available somewheres. The 1st is a sourcebook, the 2nd a lengthy campaign/setting book. It's weird western material using the BRP system, so pretty easy to convert to CoC. I'd recommend these above Devil's Gulch, as I found the latter a little less serious in tone (just my 2 cents).

 

Kevin Ross

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MikeM

Chaosium is currently in the process of art development for Book 1. 

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Jiminy

Expanding on the post from KRoss, there are three Western-themed BRP supplements on RPG Drive Thru / RPG Now:

 

BRP: Aces High

BRP: Aces High, New Mexico

BRP: Blood And Badges

 

There is also one much smaller Aces & Eights scenario from Kenzer on this supernatural theme:

 

Aces & Eights: Ghost Town

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yronimoswhateley

A little detail on Devil's Gulch can be found in the YSDC Wiki (link).

 

The Deadlands RPG covers much of the same territory, but I've never actually seen any of the RPG books, and it might just be me and/or a trick of my memory but at the time I was most interested in tracking the books down it seemed like it was kind of tough to figure out what the core books were and where to get them, and the basic entry point into the game was just a bit hard for an outsider to the game to navigate.  Your mileage may vary on that, but at the very least, some internet searches for information on the Deadlands setting might suggest some interesting ideas.

 

I haven't yet got around to creating an article for "Weird West" in the Wiki, but a list of pages that will link to that article when I do create it (including a handful of suggested movies that might be looted for plot ideas, etc.) can be found here:  (link)

 

It might be helpful to keep in mind that the American Civil War and Old West eras were basically the "American version" of the more English/European-flavored Victorian / Gaslight Eras, so I'm sure that Cthulhu Gaslight source book and many Gaslight scenarios could easily overlap with these settings (at the very least, the Cthulhu Gaslight character sheets, equipment lists, and many of the basic rules would surely be immediately usable!)

 

I've never had an opportunity to participate in a Weird West RPG campaign, but it always seemed like a fun and fascinating setting to me.  If you use the setting in a game, let us know how it goes!

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Gaffer

I wrote a Wild West Cthulhu scenario a while back and have run it several times at the Origins con. It was well received and ran quite successfully. It was essentially Outlaws v. The Mythos.

 

I just used the CoC Gaslight template and it worked fine. One thing I didn't sufficiently account for was the heavily-armed and highly proficient nature of the outlaws. Had to fudge the monsters a bit to give good action in the middle going, but in the end, their guns didn't do them much good.

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Agent_Bluescale

If Chaosium would get off their keesters and publish it, I've written/compiled a 3-book set of Old West CoC books, the 1st a sourcebook, the other 2 adventure collections. In addition to several scenarios, each of the 3 books features a couple of mini-sandbox settings in a variety of flavors (mining camp, Tex-Mex border town, riverboat, Indian country fort, etc).

 

While you're waiting, you might check out the two Aces High monographs for BRP, published by Chaosium and probably still available somewheres. The 1st is a sourcebook, the 2nd a lengthy campaign/setting book. It's weird western material using the BRP system, so pretty easy to convert to CoC. I'd recommend these above Devil's Gulch, as I found the latter a little less serious in tone (just my 2 cents).

 

Kevin Ross

 

I hear that adventure collection is pretty sweet, especially that title scenario!

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christian

There is just SO MUCH Kevin Ross material I'm yearning to throw good money at. Colonial, Old West.... Our Ladies of Sorrow was a fantastic collection. I played the first two scenarios and then my group split up. I'm looking at going back to it with a different crew and starting all over again. Kevin Ross is an excellent CoC writer. Please, publishers, hurry ;-)

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KRoss

Yes, please publishers, hurry! I ain't getting any younger!

 

Thanks for the kind words, Christian. Always nice to get praise from a best-selling novelist (even if it's in a language I don't speak/read/understand/gibber).

 

And yeah, one of those adventure collections DOES have a pretty sweet title and title adventure... ;) (Actually BOTH are pretty great, I reckon.)

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Hypnotoad

I run "Our Ladies of sorrow" and it was my best experience as a keeper.

 

Can't wait for new things from Kevin Ross.

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BazKha

If Chaosium would get off their keesters and publish it, I've written/compiled a 3-book set of Old West CoC books, the 1st a sourcebook, the other 2 adventure collections. In addition to several scenarios, each of the 3 books features a couple of mini-sandbox settings in a variety of flavors (mining camp, Tex-Mex border town, riverboat, Indian country fort, etc).

 

While you're waiting, you might check out the two Aces High monographs for BRP, published by Chaosium and probably still available somewheres. The 1st is a sourcebook, the 2nd a lengthy campaign/setting book. It's weird western material using the BRP system, so pretty easy to convert to CoC. I'd recommend these above Devil's Gulch, as I found the latter a little less serious in tone (just my 2 cents).

 

Kevin Ross

 

Great to hear, hope to read them.

 

Aces & Eights: Ghost Town

 

Thanks for Aces & Eights helped a lot with equipment and prices for that time period.

 

I run "Our Ladies of sorrow" and it was my best experience as a keeper.

 

Can't wait for new things from Kevin Ross.

 

I get them with one of bundles. And goind to run after finishing one of current games,

 

We started, without thinking and prepping all beforehand. Just get some nice maps of territory and few photos for NPC. All begins as a train heist to bind players a little together. It worked good they get some in game connection and understanding that there no Lone Wolf in Frontier.

 

Appeared quite hard to introduce default CoC scenario into old west theme + frontier, so not too dig with lot a stuff I just put few hooks for explorations and combined plots for them.

 

Mixed a little Credit Rating rules, just for there no salary if you have no job. Added some accounting but we passed it in 15 minutes of gameplay. They get some gossip about gold deposits in mountains and some people were missing, few variations what to do.  PC joined venture for wannabe gold miner and finished last session as Ghast attacked their miner camp.

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carpocratian

I would be all over Down Darker Trails if it was available in print.  I just can't get into PDFs.

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BazKha

Not its time for salary magic to show up. I ended my Wild West Games, but still interested in this book.

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MOB

I would be all over Down Darker Trails if it was available in print.  I just can't get into PDFs.

 

The PDF is available now. The printed book will be out in about three months. 

 

People who buy the PDF now get a Chaosium.com discount coupon when the printed book comes out. It gives a discount of the full amount of the PDF off the purchase price of the printed book.

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7Tigers

And as a reminder:
 

FREE Call of Cthulhu old west adventure: Sundown

 

http://www.chaosium.com/content/FreePDFs/CoC/Adventures/Sundown%20-%20A%20Free%20Call%20of%20Cthulhu%20adventure%20by%20Chaosium.pdf

 

“It’s easy to feel alone as the shadows gather and the pale moon rises over the High Plains. The Cherokee say that on nights like this, the cold wind from the prairie has a mind of its own — a malignant chill, born of the darkness, which eats at your warmth, and steals all compassion.

 

It was a night like that when Barton Duvall rode into Tombstone. A night like that when they found what was left of little Alina Hundle — the few sad remains, barely recognizable, that Barton had left for her family to bury. And, it was a night like that when you realised that justice was more than a word bandied around by fearful shopkeepers — it was a necessity.

 

The year is 1880, and the posse is forming.

 

Sundown is a character-driven scenario of the old-west written to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Call of Cthulhu.â€

 

Scenario by Dale Elvy. 26 pages. 8.5 x 11″ pdf.

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Cole

I wrote a Wild West Cthulhu scenario a while back and have run it several times at the Origins con. It was well received and ran quite successfully. It was essentially Outlaws v. The Mythos.

 

I just used the CoC Gaslight template and it worked fine. One thing I didn't sufficiently account for was the heavily-armed and highly proficient nature of the outlaws. Had to fudge the monsters a bit to give good action in the middle going, but in the end, their guns didn't do them much good.

 

Would you be willing to share that Con adventure, Gaffer?  I'm gearing up for another Cthulhu in Old West game and hungry for content.   

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Cole

And pdf of the sourcebook is available:

https://www.chaosium.com/down-darker-trails-pdf/

 

I hope this sourcebook does for Old West setting what Invictus did for Ancient Rome. 

 

In a field crowded by several other strong RPGs set in the West, I still think Call of Cthulhu affords me the best way to tell my Weird West stories.  Deadlands, and so many others are great, but I love the rules mechanics and gameplay of CoC.  It's the perfect marriage for the sort of game that I like to run.

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Boris

So, I know this has only been available for a few days, but is there any chance of more information than just the cover/ back blurb? Such as table of contents, art examples, opinions/ first impressions? Just all seems very quiet...

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dce

So, I know this has only been available for a few days, but is there any chance of more information than just the cover/ back blurb? Such as table of contents, art examples, opinions/ first impressions? Just all seems very quiet...

 

Yeah, it has been a little quiet ... but I am happy to share a little bit of info about the Down Darker Trails PDF (which I bought yesterday).

 

Even though I have only really had time to skim through the book, I have definitely formed the opinion that this is a very solid title -- pretty much exactly what you would expect from CoC veteran writer Kevin Ross. As a setting it looks more like a historical west book with Mythos added into it, as opposed to some of the "weird west" settings that commonly pop up in RPG books. There is quite a lot of page count devoted to life in the old west, the general historical context, etc. But equally there is a good amount of material about weirdness that can be exploited for Call of Cthulhu scenarios -- half of this takes the form of ideas about how to translate some of the staples of the Lovecraftian tale (strange creatures, arcane tomes, etc) into things that more naturally fit into a Western setting. The other half is a short selection of "Lost Worlds" which can be grafted on to add a pulpy kind of angle to scenarios. The book is rounded out with two fleshed out Western towns -- great starting settings for scenarios of the Keeper's own devising -- and two detailed scenarios.

 

Physically the book is 256 pages and colour throughout. It advertises itself as a setting for both 7th Edition CoC and Pulp Cthulhu (and there are a few sections specifically aimed at Pulp rules). There is quite a lot of art, a mixture of period illustrations and new pieces. The quality of the art varies a bit but is generally effective an building a suitably evocative feel. One aspect that I think especially shines is the cartography -- there are some beautiful new maps created in a period-authentic style.

 

To answer your question about the general book contents, here's a chapter-by-chapter summary:

  • Chapter 1: Old West Investigators (character creation, occupations, skills, rules, etc)
  • Chapter 2: Equipment and Weapons
  • Chapter 3: Optional Rules for the Old West (chase rules, rules for insanity)
  • Chapter 4: The Historical West (a somewhat thorough summary stretching from pre-history through to the Civil War and into the mid-19th Century; includes lots of cool historical NPCs, notes on Native Americans, and a whole bunch of goodness)
  • Chapter 5: The Supernatural West (monsters, tomes, folk magic, cults etc)
  • Chapter 6: Lost Worlds of the Old West (4 different "lost world" kind of settings, each described in ~3 Pages)
  • Chapter 7: Designing Old West Adventures
  • Chapter 8: Pawheton (a sample Old West gold-rush type town in the Dakota Territory)
  • Chapter 9: San Rafael (a sample Old West town near the Mexican border)
  • Chapter 10: Something From Down There (scenario)
  • Chapter 11: Scanlon's Daughter (scenario)
  • Chapter 12: Selected Bibliography
  • Index, Author Bios

Full disclosure: the book is rounded out with two character sheets designed by yours truly (although you wouldn't know, since the credits omit mentioning that -- oops).

 

All-in-all I think this based on what I've read so far that is a really good book, and I'd recommend it to anyone who is interested in dipping their toe into using the Old West as a setting for their Cthulhu games. Kevin has a great ability to fuse disparate ideas into a coherent and living setting -- he did it to great effect with the 3rd Edition revamp of the Gaslight setting, and he's done it again with this (IMHO of course).

 

Hope that gives you a bit more to go on ... I only wish I'd had time to read more of it and been able to give it a proper review.

 

 

Dean (from Adelaide)

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MOB

Full disclosure: the book is rounded out with two character sheets designed by yours truly (although you wouldn't know, since the credits omit mentioning that -- oops).

 

That's an unfortunate oversight, and our apologies! We are correcting the PDF to fix that, which will also be correct for the print edition.

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Boris

Dean, thanks! That's a really helpful summary.

 

(Just a little personal aside, as an equestrian does it cover " horses in the old west" in any way?)

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