This game uses the Augment NWoD ruleset, modified further here.
Being set in 1875, there are some changes needed to the system.
The Computer skill is removed entirely. The Drive skill is replaced by Ride, which can be used to ride horses personally or drive a wagon team. Most fighting styles from Armory and Armory Reloaded are either completely unavailable or very difficult to come by. Martial arts are fairly unknown and the Sniping fighting style is actually impossible to learn: the rifles of the time are simply not accurate enough to allow such precise shooting at range.
Horses are the most common way to get around quickly in the old west. For most basic riding, no check is needed: the horse manages itself and you can just sit in the saddle. Under relaxed conditions, steering isn’t a problem either. Even a character with zero dots in Ride (formerly Drive) is assumed to know how to pull on the reigns.
Quick maneuvers or difficult conditions do call for a Ride check. Because horses are living creatures and not machines, this is usually a Presence + Ride roll, modified by the horse’s temperament and the situation at hand. Even one success means the horse obeys your command. If you are trying to take any other action while riding a horse, a roll is required to keep the horse on track.
Dice Pool: Presence or Dexterity + Ride
Dramatic Failure: You lose control of the horse, as it spooks or otherwise refuses to heed your commands. This usually means the horse runs off (with you in the saddle) until you get it back under control. When making a jump or other dangerous maneuver, you may be thrown from the saddle. Convincing the horse to listen to you again requires an extended Presence + Animal Ken roll: target 4 successes, interval 1 minute.
Failure: The horse ignores this one command, instead doing as it pleases. During a jump or other dangerous maneuver, the horse is more likely to stop short rather than rear and throw you from the saddle.
Success: You complete the intended maneuver.
Exceptional Success: Not only do you complete your maneuver as intended, your deft command of the horse lets you cover more ground than you expected. If the horse needs to make its own roll as part of the maneuver (to jump or sprint, for example), add two bonus dice to its pool.
The main difficulty with ranged attacks from horseback comes from the horse’s movement. Different gates therefore impose different penalties. The roll to attack remains unchanged from normal, with guns using Firearms, bows using Athletics or Firearms, thrown knives using Athletics or Weaponry, and other thrown weapons using Athletics.
Dice Pool: Unchanged
Dramatic Failure: The weapon malfunctions in some way or your character accidentally hits a different target.
Failure: The attack misses, but causes no further mishap.
Success: The attack hits, inflicting damage or some other effect as usual.
Exceptional Success: The attack hits very well, possibly magnifying its effect.
|+2||Using a lasso|
|+1||Using a shotgun|
Replaces Stunt Driving merit
Characters with the Stunt Riding merit have exceptional control over their mount, allowing them to ignore the required Ride check when taking other actions while riding. They may also ignore up to three dice of penalties from the terrain and their mount’s gait when making a ranged attack from horseback.
Horses sometimes rear or otherwise unbalance their riders, throwing them from the saddle and onto the unforgiving ground. Characters can resist being thrown with a successful Dexterity + Ride check. If they fail, however, they’re in for some pain.
The effects of being thrown depend largely on the horse’s gait. Faster gaits inflict more damage, while slower gaits inflict less. This damage can be somewhat mitigated by melee armor (leather or other thick riding clothes) and sometimes by a Dexterity + Athletics check. The GM should limit how much damage can be mitigated by this check.
|Canter||2 Lethal + 2 dice bashing|
|Gallop||4 Lethal + 4 dice bashing|
Firearms in the old west are very limited. Longarms basically all have a 3L damage code and feed from an internal magazine, with the notable exception of the Springfield Carbine. Pistols are also 3L thanks to their large caliber, and are almost always revolvers, not flintlocks.
Shotguns are also around, and they do significantly more damage. The only models available at the time of the game are break action with one or two barrels. Expect a 4L damage code with 9-again. Firing both barrels at once grants that attack the 8-again advantage, reflecting the incredible damage that much lead can do.
The Gunslinger merit now has Dexterity of 4 as a prerequisite.
This is now a two-dot merit chain with the following rules:
Shoot First (•): Your character’s trained reflexes give her a split-second edge in a gunfight. Whenever she begins a combat with a firearm already in her hand, she gains a bonus to her Initiative roll equal to her Firearms Skill. If she also has the Quick Draw Merit for firearms (see the World of Darkness Rulebook, p. 113) and draws a firearm during the first turn of combat, this bonus is added retroactively, starting at the beginning of the second turn of combat.
Double Tap (••): When using a lever-action, pump-action or semi-automatic firearm, your character may make short burst attacks as if her gun were capable of autofire.
The standard World of Darkness combat system has no means of interrupting another character’s actions. This means that in a gunfight, the guy with top initiative wins and his opponent is likely dead before he can think about drawing. In our vision of the Old West, gun fighters can try to out-draw each other, hoping to interrupt their opponent’s shot with their own.
First, we assume that someone is going to establish threat. For this explanation, that will be the Bad Guy. To establish threat, the Bad Guy needs to do one of three things, depending on the situation:
Next, we have one or more combatants who wish to shoot the Bad Guy before he can shoot them (or their buddy). We’ll call them the Good Guys. Each of these character’s declares that they will attempt to interrupt his draw. To be able to do this, each character must satisfy one of these conditions:
By attempting to interrupt the Bad Guy, these characters are holding their actions, which changes their initiative to be right after the Bad Guy, still in their original order. Each character must sacrifice their Instant action for the turn to attempt the interrupt. If they have already used their Instant action this turn, they cannot try to interrupt the Bad Guy.
So, we now have a Bad Guy who is about to establish threat. Let’s say he has a pair of pistols in their holsters, the Gunslinger merit and the Quick Draw merit. Quite a dangerous man. Our first Good Guy is Gus, who has a shotgun pointed at the Bad Guy and rolled a 16 initiative. Our second Good Guy is Mack, who has his own pair of pistols in their holsters, and the Quick Draw and Gunslinger merits. He rolled a 12 initiative. The Bad Guy rolled an 11 initiative. To interrupt the Bad Guy, Gus sets his initiative to 10 and Mack sets his initiative to 9. They both sacrifice their Instant action and can try to interrupt.
The Bad Guy decides to make his move. He’s here to kill Mack and doesn’t want to be interrupted. So, an opposed test is called for. The Bad Guy rolls his Composure + Subterfuge, and each Good Guy rolls their Wits + Investigation (body language specialities apply). If the Bad Guy gets as many or more successes than every Good Guy, he manages to draw and shoot first. Every Good Guy who scores more success than the Bad Guy sees him start to draw in time to interrupt his shot, and can shoot him first (in order of their rolled initiatives).
(If the Bad Guy has a longarm slung over his back or otherwise not “drawn”, he can still aim it at someone. However, this is slow enough that anyone able to interrupt can do so without an opposed test.)
The Bad Guy decides that Mack is going down, and draws his first pistol, intending to kill the man. He rolls his Composure+Subterfuge and gets 2 successes. Mack and Gus each roll their Wits+Investigation: Mack gets 2 and Gus gets 3. Gus got one more success than the Bad Guy, so he gets to fire his shotgun before the Bad Guy can shoot. Mack tied with the Bad Guy, though, so he has to take his first shot after the Bad Guy.
Gus pulls the trigger of his shotgun, attacking the Bad Guy normally using his Firearms skill. He rolls 4 successes; the Bad Guy is hurt, but not down. Then the Bad Guy finishes his draw and attacks Mack with his first pistol. He rolls 3 successes, wounding Mack. Mack, still up, gets to fire his first shot at the Bad Guy, inflicting another 2 damage.
It’s important to note that the opposed test only determines the order of shots fired. Everyone involved in a draw/counter-draw shootout gets to fire (unless they die or fall unconscious).
Now we come to a complication. The Bad Guy has 6 of his 7 damage boxes full, Gus is unharmed, and Mack has 3 of his 7 boxes full. Normally at this point, initiative would continue as normal, with the remainder of the Bad Guy’s turn (his movement action(s)), then Gus and Mack (remember that they had to sacrifice their Instant actions to try and interrupt the Bad Guy). However, both the Bad Guy and Mack have the Gunslinger merit (and Quick Draw) and a second pistol.
After the first shot has been fired, such characters can sacrifice their Movement action to draw and fire with their second pistol. These characters shoot now in the same order as their first shot, with no further Subterfuge vs. Investigation rolls. This does mean that unless they drop their defence to gain another Movement action, they are stuck in place when their turn comes up in initiative. The Gunslinger merit is required to do this.
The Bad Guy now sacrifices his Movement action to draw his second pistol, firing again at Mack. He puts another 3 damage on Mack, leaving him badly wounded. Mack also sacrifices his Movement action to draw his second pistol and fires right back at the Bad Guy. He rolls 3 damage this time, finishing off the Bad Guy.
Mack now has 6 of his 7 damage boxes filled, Gus is unharmed, and the Bad Guy has accrued 2 aggravated and 5 lethal damage. Without immediate, effective first aid, the Bad Guy is dead.
At this point, combat is more or less over, but let’s walk through the rest of the round. The Bad Guy is out of combat, so we proceed to Mack. He sacrifices his Defence to get another Movement action, and uses it to pull out a Wanted poster for the Bad Guy. Gus now gets to take his Movement action(s). Gus keeps his Defence up, and uses his remaining Movement action to check up and down the street for more trouble, just in case the Bad Guy had friends. Now, combat is over.
Had there been other combatants who did not try to interrupt the Bad Guy, they would get to act normally on their own initiatives.
This mechanic usually only applies to the first round of a gun fight, although other draw/counter-draw actions can happen later in combat under the right circumstances.
You can poison no more than two boons with Poison the Boon sanction. You can add no more than +3 to a skill using Adroitness.
The second clause now uses Sealth + Wyrd.
These rulings are NOT IN PLAY! They are presented here for evaluation by the group.
This style is meant to represent advanced stuff you can do while riding a horse. Some of the descriptions are bare-bones.
Prerequisites: Dexterity •••, Resolve ••, Drive/Ride ••
Effect: Your character is trained in riding driving techniques. Maybe he’s a cowboy or a traveling marshall. Maybe he’s a stuntman for film and TV or a member of a heist gang. Dots purchased in this Merit allow access to special horse riding maneuvers. Each maneuver is a prerequisite for the next. Your character cannot possess “••” until he has “•.” Maneuvers and effects are described below.
Horse must be trained as well as the rider. If the rider has a consistent horse, it is assumed that they train that horse as they purchase dots of this merit. If they need to train a new horse, it takes one month per dot of the merit known. Alternately, they might purchase a horse from a trainer for one dot higher cost than an untrained horse.
Focus and Control (•): In order to learn any advanced maneuvers, the horse and rider must share a level of focus. Each dot learned (and trained) of this merit reduces penalties to Ride checks from noise, movement, and other distractions.
Stunt Rider (••): Your character can ride a horse and perform an unrelated action (fire a gun, throw a lasso, twist sideways in the saddle, etc.) in the same turn. Ride rolls may still be necessary for dangerous maneuvers or situations.
Flying Turn (•••): Pivot the horse at up to canter speed (10-17mph). Allows for very quick changes of direction. Riders without this maneuver have a difficult time keeping up and must make a wider turn to follow.
Side Hang (••••): Hang off the side of the horse, making yourself harder to see and to hit. Armor with a min str req of 2 or more makes this maneuver impossible to use. In combat, it takes a movement action to hang down and to sit back up. While hanging, the horse’s body provides full cover from ranged attacks. Drawback: The lopsided weight imposes a -4 penalty on all rolls to control the horse.
Reverse Saddle (•••••): While your horse is riding at any speed, you quickly flip yourself around in the saddle, facing backwards, but still able to control the horse. In combat, it takes a Movement action to turn around or turn back. Drawback: Ride checks suffer a -3 penalty. Also, you can’t see where you’re going.