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A Rulebook for a Pen and Paper RPG set in a Mythologised Old West setting, with heavy emphasis on player individuality and engagement.
A Rulebook for a Pen and Paper RPG set in a Mythologised Old West setting, with heavy emphasis on player individuality and engagement.
A Rulebook for a Pen and Paper RPG set in a Mythologised Old West setting, with heavy emphasis on player individuality and engagement.
150 backers pledged £7,700 to help bring this project to life.

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Dead in the West: A Tabletop RPG set in the Mythic Old West

£7,700

150

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.

QUICKDRAW!

Yikes!

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

Weapon Mastery  

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

STRETCH GOALS!

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.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £1 or more About $1.30

    Cowpal

    Much obliged, pardner! Every little helps!

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge £6 or more About $8

    Cowpatron

    My appreciations, stranger!

    You will receive a short, 15-20 page PDF "Quickguide" so you can start playing Dead in the West immediately! it will cover character creation, some basic systems and a few of the fancier, fiddly elements of the game.

    Includes:
    • Dead in the West Quickguide PDF
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    6 backers
    £
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge £18 or more About $23

    Cowpoke

    Thank ya kindly!

    You will receive a copy of the Dead in the West Rulebook in PDF format, along with a PDF of the character sheet template and Quickguide. Finally, you will be thanked by name in the Rulebook.

    Includes:
    • Dead in the West Quickguide PDF
    • Dead in the West Rulebook PDF and Character Sheet PDF
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    45 backers
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  4. Reward no longer available

    Pledge £21 or more About $27

    Cowpledger

    You're an earlybird! You got the worm!

    The first 10 people to pledge this amount will get the Quickguide and PDF as well as the Physical Edition Rulebook when it's completed! Not to mention a special thanks in the Rulebook itself!

    Additionally, you'll receive an early build of the Rulebook in PDF form as soon as it's completed. This will be more advanced than the Quickguide, but far from the final version of the game. Still it'll give you the chance to see how progress is coming along, and even have some fun with the game a little early!

    Includes:
    • Dead in the West Quickguide PDF
    • Dead in the West Rulebook PDF and Character Sheet PDF
    • Dead in the West Physical Edition Rulebook
    • Dead in the West Alpha Rulebook PDF
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 15 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge £26 or more About $34

    Cowplus

    Good Gravy!

    You will receive a physical copy of the Dead in the West Rulebook, along with a digital copy of the PDF and character sheet template, as well as getting your mitts on the alpha build of the game when it's done - oh, and a special thanks and Quickguide, of course!

    Includes:
    • Dead in the West Rulebook PDF and Character Sheet PDF
    • Dead in the West Quickguide PDF
    • Dead in the West Physical Edition Rulebook
    • Dead in the West Alpha Rulebook PDF
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    44 backers
    £
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge £34 or more About $44

    Cowprodigy

    Holy Mackerel!

    In addition to the Quickguide, PDF, alpha build and special thanks, your physical copy of the Dead in the West Rulebook will arrive signed by Will Donelson, creator of the game!

    Includes:
    • Dead in the West Quickguide PDF
    • Dead in the West Rulebook PDF and Character Sheet PDF
    • Dead in the West Physical Rulebook signed by Will Donelson
    • Dead in the West Alpha Rulebook PDF
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    8 backers
    £
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge £50 or more About $65

    Cowpuncher

    Tarnations!

    In addition to the signed physical book, quickguide, alpha build, special thanks and PDFs, you will be put in contact with Will Donelson, creator of the game, to work on a special ability for characters to be featured in the rulebook! You'll submit your idea, work together and balance your ability, being credited however you wish.

    Includes:
    • Dead in the West Rulebook PDF and Character Sheet PDF
    • Dead in the West Quickguide PDF
    • Dead in the West Custom Ability
    • Dead in the West Alpha Rulebook PDF
    • Dead in the West Physical Rulebook signed by Will Donelson
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 5 backers
    £
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge £60 or more About $78

    Cowprince

    Yowza!

    You'll get the Quickguide, PDF, alpha, signed Physical Edition Rulebook and custom ability...

    Oh, and your Cowpoke will become a part of the game!

    Your character, along with their custom ability and a short description, will be included as a sample enemy/NPC in the official rulebook! Your notorious outlaw or fabled hero will go down in the pages of history (and the PDF of history), for other would-be cowpokes to encounter!

    NOTE: The "Cowpriest" reward tier DOES ALSO includes the Custom Character included in the Rulebook.

    Includes:
    • Dead in the West Rulebook PDF and Character Sheet PDF
    • Dead in the West Quickguide PDF
    • Dead in the West Physical Rulebook signed by Will Donelson
    • Dead in the West Alpha Rulebook PDF
    • Dead in the West Custom Ability
    • Custom Character included in Rulebook
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 3 backers
    £
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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge £70 or more About $91

    Cowpriest

    By Jiminy!

    In addition to the signed Rulebook, PDFs, special thanks , alpha build and Custom Ability, you can now have your very own character canonised in Dead in the West!

    The Dead in the West Rulebook will feature a piece of artwork, commissioned by you! Design your character, have a chat with one of our talented artists and immortalise that Cowpoke forever in the official rulebook!

    Phew - that's a lotta stuff!

    Includes:
    • Dead in the West Rulebook PDF and Character Sheet PDF
    • Dead in the West Quickguide PDF
    • Dead in the West Custom Ability
    • Dead in the West Art Commission
    • Dead in the West Alpha Rulebook PDF
    • Dead in the West Physical Rulebook signed by Will Donelson
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 9 backers
    £
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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge £120 or more About $157

    Cowparade

    Jumpin jehoshaphat!

    In addition to all previously listed backer rewards, Will Donelson, creator of the game, will GM a game of Dead in the West for you and several of your friends over Discord/Skype, at a time that is convenient for you.

    Includes:
    • Dead in the West Quickguide PDF
    • Dead in the West Rulebook PDF and Character Sheet PDF
    • Dead in the West Custom Ability
    • Dead in the West Art Commission
    • Game Session with Will Donelson, Creator of Dead in the West
    • Dead in the West Alpha Rulebook PDF
    • Dead in the West Physical Rulebook signed by Will Donelson
    • Custom Character included in Rulebook
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    Limited 3 backers
    £
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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge £500 or more About $651

    Cowparagon

    I'll be hog-wallered!

    Okay buddy, you get everything. The Alpha Rulebook, the Ability, the Custom Art and Character, signed book and the game with Will Donelson...

    ... And you're gonna get it all in your own book. Your character will appear in a second original piece of art by one of our talented artists, and it'll be on the cover of a copy of the Rulebook ONLY you will receive. This artwork at your request can be based on a scene or moment from the game you'll play with Will Donelson, personalising the book even more.

    Additionally, this version of the rules will include a Special Ability that won't appear in the regular edition of the rules (unless you specify otherwise, of course). Your version of the game will be one-of-a-kind, by gum, and that's pretty darned special.

    Includes:
    • Dead in the West Rulebook PDF and Character Sheet PDF
    • Dead in the West Quickguide PDF
    • Custom Character included in Rulebook
    • Dead in the West Alpha Rulebook PDF
    • Dead in the West Art Commission
    • Dead in the West Custom Ability
    • Custom Edition Rulebook signed by Will Donelson
    • Game Session with Will Donelson, Creator of Dead in the West
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 4 backers
    £
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Funding period

- (30 days)