WELCOME TO THE GREAT FRONTIER!
My name's Will Donelson. I'm a writer by trade and an avid Tabletop gamer, and I'd like to talk to you about my new project Dead in the West.
Dead in the West is a tabletop roleplaying game set in a Mythologised Old West setting. Think old Cowboy Movies and Pulp Novels - the kinds of tall tales of daring feats and larger-than-life figures that could only exist in that particular blend of history and fantasy. In Dead in the West, setting out on an adventure should feel like you're modern-day scribes, stitching out part of the tapestry that is the Great American Mythology.
SO, WHAT MAKES DEAD IN THE WEST SPECIAL?
In Dead in the West, emphasis is placed on innovation, clever thinking and the empowerment of both the players and the Game Master. The character creation system is designed as such so that by the time you've played a couple games, no two characters will feel the same. The design philosophy behind Dead in the West as I like to think of it is “there are no classes in Dead in the West, only players – and every player is different”.
This is accomplished, in part, by the character progression system. As characters advance, rather than “unlocking” pre-set bonuses, players are given unique abilities based on their actions and roleplaying thus far. A character who employs a whip and is a pacifist may, for instance, earn the ability to quickly snap guns out of the hands of their enemies. A character with a knack for chemistry and also happens to get poisoned a lot may earn the ability to reverse-engineer anything nasty they're stuck with. Dead in the West already has dozens of abilities and suggestions for how players can earn them, but it also features a step-by-step guide for GMs on how to create their own specifically for member of their group. This really encourages players to embrace different playstyles, and makes them feel truly rewarded for roleplaying and experimentation.
In fact, just about everything in Dead in the West is designed to create a totally unique party and world. As another example, Combat and Speech are considered two sides of the same coin in Dead in the West. Characters are in no way limited to being either a fighter or a talker – the systems for both weapon mastery and dialogue allow for characters to approach both skirmishes and social interaction in their own unique way.
Another way Dead in the West engages players is through it's Quickdraw system. At any point, a player can yell “Quickdraw!” and force an NPC into a sudden, quickfire stand-off! This usually happens when shifty characters are reaching for their firearms or suspiciously eyeing a drawer. Depending on when the player yells “Quickdraw!”, they'll either get a bonus or penalty on the impending shootout. Quickdraw can both end encounters before they start and get players into trouble when misused. Sometimes a fella's just reaching for a match!
While I could prattle on and on, I wanted to highlight with these few examples how Dead in the West is designed. It's a game built above all else to engage. To make players feel unique and special, to encourage them to roleplay and keep them paying attention and on their toes at all times.
THE GREAT FRONTIER
The world of Dead in the West is malleable and thus in the hands of each GM who comes to it with a vision for The Great Frontier. The system supports both light-hearted adventures and more gritty, challenging affairs. The way I imagine the book now, there are even some "alternative rules" that GMs can incorporate if they want their Old West to be a little meaner, a little more desperate and a little more unpredictable.
As previously stated, the goal is for a party in Dead in the West to carry with them a sense of adventure and wonder - that they ride in an as-of-yet untamed land, and their actions and deeds feel like the kind tall-tales and legends that make up the first American folklore.
WHAT WILL THIS KICKSTARTER CONTRIBUTE TO?
This Kickstarter will help Dead in the West fund a gorgeous, Physical-Edition Rulebook as well as a Digital PDF Rulebook. The book will be in full colour and feature beautiful artwork from a number of talented artists, all paid a fair commission and given due credit.
The Kicksarter will also go a ways to expanding on some of the core rules of gameplay. Playtesting, tweaking and refining various systems that at present exist only on the periphery.
As of right now, the Dead in the West official rulebook is planned to include:
An Introduction to Dead in the West
Character Creation: A Step-by-step Guide
Facets, Experiences and the Things that Make up a Character
Reasoning and Speech
Abilities: An Extensive List and a Guide to Creating your Own
The Rules of Combat
Mounted Combat and Chases
Injuries and Ailments
GM's Only! - Hoodoo and What it Does
Tools of the Trade
Planning Your World and Creating a Game
A Short Bestiary and Guide to Animal Tendencies
NOTE: Though we're using £ here, this Kickstarter is internationally friendly. Anyone can donate and we deliver all over the world.
£7300 - Dead in the West Funded! The Dead in the West Official Handbook will receive a physical edition print run of 100 books and the PDF will be made available for purchase.
£7300 - £8200 - More Artwork! The book will include more artwork from the wonderful and talented illustrators that have contributed to the project thus far.
£8200 - Villains and Varmints PDF! An expansive Bestiary and Enemy Guide, expanding the number of pre-generated critters in the game and providing some more templates for bad hombres. Animals can be used as enemies, but each entry will also include instructions on how to befriend and even tame them. Villains and Varmints will be FREE for all pledgers of the Cowpoke tier and above!
£8800 - Ability Encyclopaedia PDF! While the Official Handbook will already include dozens of abilities (along with an Ability Generator tool), this supplement will include even more! The Ability Encyclopedia will be FREE for all pledgers of the Cowpoke tier and above!
£9600 - "Terror on the Rickety Wonder"! The First Official Dead in the West Adventure! The first ever official campaign for Dead in the West will be made available! Your party find themselves on a runaway train that was transporting various attractions to a Hall of Wonders! Can they stop the train before it's too late? Can they survive the onslaught of banditos impeding their progress? Can they figure out who set them up, and why? Will they uncover the truth (and fortune!) behind the fabled Erin GoBragh painting? Can there possibly be any more mysteries?! Yes! This is just how I write! "Terror on the Rickety Wonder" will be FREE for all pledgers of the Cowpoke tier and above!
£9600 + - Even More Artwork! The Dead in the West Handbook, Bestiary, Ability Encyclopaedia and "Terror on the Rickety Wonder" Campaign will become truly beautiful, featuring even more artwork and adding even more character to an already rich and captivating world.
If the Kickstarter exceeds expectations, expect to see even more stretch goals here soon!
Thank you so much for checking out our Kickstarter!
I'm so excited to be bringing this project to as many people as possible. I'm ecstatic about the project, and I hope you've been taken by it too. If your imagination has been captured and you'd like to see Dead in the West brought to life, please consider contributing to the official Dead in the West Kickstarter.
A special thank you to the wonderful artists that are working with me to make Dead in the West Special!
Sebastian Gomez, who can find more of at http://gomezsillustration.com/ or follow on Instagram @gomezillustration
Patsy McDowell, who you can find more of at http://residentmedieval.tumblr.com/
Samantha Darcy, who you can find more of at http://samanthadarcy.tumblr.com/ or follow on Twitter @65thvictor
Kim Stramat, who you can find more of at http://kstramat.com/
Music was provided by Mariusz Goli, who you can hear more of on his Youtube at https://www.youtube.com/user/Vargall or his bandcamp at https://mariuszgoli.bandcamp.com/ or like his fanpage at https://www.facebook.com/Vargall/?ref=settings
If you would like to see more from Will Donelson (that's me!), you can find his website at infranaut.tumblr.com or his Youtube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC54_ZzarUmjKeAhEmc0p7yg
Risks and challenges
The work ahead is simply to further playtest, tweak and perfect the current ruleset. After that, we need only design the PDF, print and ship.
With a completed alpha build of the game and quotes for printing costs, I have no doubt that if the funding goal is reached reward fulfilment will be successful.
If we exceed the funding goal, the only further challenges will be in delivering the best additional content possible.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)