Monday, June 18, 2012

Who Put a Cowboy in My Dungeons and Dragons Game? (Part 2, Zeke Rides In)

Our band of adventurers rolled into the Stolen Lands, and in a few months were able to rid a goodly chunk of territory of outlaws and monsters.  Settlers started rolling in, we made contact with all sorts of odd critters, and set up a nice, peaceful society.  Sort of.  There were kobold (little nasty dragon creatures), intelligent wolves, lizard men, etc.  I took the challenge as Zeke to redo the West in my own image, making alliances where possible, bridging cultural barriers, and forming a place of freedom where everyone can exist together.

Didn’t work out particularly well, mind you.  The little kobolds were big into enslaving our settlers that strayed near their land, and we eventually broke them of that.  Peace overtures to the lizard folk and the wolves turned to… well… I guess genocide is the right term.  The whole thing turned into one big ass war where the monsters banded together and claimed the Stolen Lands as their land, which they would defend to the end.

I admit I kind of agreed with them.  They were in the Stolen Lands a lot longer than we were.  We even had the nerve to call it the Stolen Lands, when they had been there for centuries.  Who were we to roll in and tell them what to do?  I felt like Gus lamenting his life’s work towards the end of Lonesome Dove.

We’re the fucking cavalry, that’s who, and despite being a game full of people from the mystical lands of Golarion, all the players were Americans and we were by God and Country going to kick some ass.  Well, I know that one guy is Polish, one is technically Cherokee, I think, and was that other dude born in Russia?  Fuck it, that’s close enough to American here in New England.  To war!

More to follow in Part 3.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Who Put a Cowboy in My Dungeons and Dragons Game? (Part 1, Pathfinders & Kingmakers)

I have been a role-playing gamer on and off since I was about ten years old, and to my surprise have spent some of the best gaming days in my 30’s.  Gamers tend to stick to a couple of key genres, notably science fiction and fantasy.  As you may have noticed over the course of reading this blog, I do enjoy those genres but am much more a fan of westerns.  Thankfully, both modern sci-fi and fantasy steal a lot from westerns, and I have found it pretty easy to sneak cowboys into other games.  I played Star Marshal Jorge Dubya Overholster of New Texas in a Star Trek game, have had two characters by the name of The Crossbow Kid in various D&D (Dungeons and Dragons) games, and have played a host of other characters who were fantasy versions of gamblers, gunslingers, and mountain men.  

Most recently my group of friends has been playing a long running campaign called Kingmaker, from a D&D rules system called Pathfinder.  The story takes place in the Stolen Lands, a area that was once filled with towns and farms but over the course of centuries fell to various bands of bandits and monsters.  The whole place to me feels a lot like west Texas after the Civil War, at time where the soldiers, rangers, and fighting men all went off to kill Yankees and the outlaws and Comanche rolled back the frontier a couple hundred miles. 

In Kingmaker, you are part of a group of adventurers who are chartered with taking back the Stolen Lands, developing it into first a barony, then a duchy, and finally a kingdom.  You need a monarch, general, grand wizard, and particularly a diplomat.  Diplomacy has always been my strong suit and gaming, and I dutifully created a character named Ezekiel Medveyed-Narikopolus, a holy man somewhat touched in the head, distantly related to noble families in several nearby kingdoms, a prophet of the wilderness, and a wicked shot with a longbow (Half-elf nature oracle of Erastil, if you’re the kind who keeps track of stuff like that).  Call him Zeke for short.  A mix of Shane and Natty Bumpo with a dash of Have Gun-Will Travel, Zeke was ready to make the Stolen Lands fit for settlers again. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

Ghost Colts, Bad Wind Blowing, and Dust of the Damned- Brandvold’s Weird Westerns

Lately I’ve been turned off by one of my favorite western writers, Peter Brandvold.  Maybe I keep pickup the wrong books, but they never seem to be what I am looking for.  I think the problem is that I keep trying to read his series work, which I am finding a bit formulaic.  You know what’s really good?  His one-shot ebook weird westerns.  I reviewed Bad Wind Blowing last year and loved it.  I also just finished Ghost Colts, a cool ghost story.  Maybe I just need to stick to this part of his writing.  Dust of the Damned, Mean Pete’s werewolf western, came out recently, perhaps I’ll give that a shot next.