Author Topic: Making Orbis RPG a wild west game  (Read 210 times)

Captain Shortworth

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Making Orbis RPG a wild west game
« on: March 31, 2020, 09:13:28 AM »
This had been a back of my head plan for a while, but what do you know, I now have some spare time on my hands!

I've been wanting to run a wild west game, but struggled to find a system that did everything I wanted that wasn't going for silly money on Ebay, so instead I decided to hack one of my all time favourite systems.

Things I love about Orbis are the metier system, and how awesome combat is, but there will need to be changes, so i'm gonna discuss them here, and I'm happy to hear suggestions, but try and keep it positive, and remember that this is a very different setting, so I've had to take the hatchet to a few things that people might really like about the system to make it work for me...
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Captain Shortworth

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Re: Making Orbis RPG a wild west game
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2020, 09:22:54 AM »
First things was character creation. For a start, cultures are pretty much out, as for the most part you'll be playing recent European immigrants, or second/third generation. Maybe Canadian, maybe African-America, maybe first nation, but for the most part, people will be cut from the same cloth.

So, instead of a table with number of dice for each culture, I have decided that going D&D might make more sense. Roll 4d20 for each stat, keep the best three, then put them where you want. This also does away with the idea that a character concept can be killed pretty quickly during character gen by a couple of unlucky rolls.

Also, a lack of cultural Talents need addressing. I have compiled a list of about 25 Talents, most just reworded ones from the Orbis book, plus a couple that make sense to me, and I think letting people have four point to pick a selection still makes sense. I'd just call them "background talents" instead, and have them tied to what career and life the characters have chosen/lived.

There's a risk that people could just take four stat increases, and there are very much gamers that just want the numbers to be as big as possible, regardless of the sense it would make for the character, but I'd like to think that going for balance not only makes for a  better experience, but also a better character, as they would be tooled for likely challenges, not just a jack of all trades.

Similar issue for cultural skills, but again, a simple solution, of just letting people spec their own "career skills" picking 10 from the master list - scribe still in there, as the education level was far from good enough to assume every cowpoke coule read a newspaper - and listing them separated from general skills.

Obviously, I'd be dropping the magic related skills, and might even think of some to add to the list, but at the moment, what's there covers what I have in mind.
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Re: Making Orbis RPG a wild west game
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2020, 09:34:37 AM »
Combat did need a rethink, as most people would rightly pick ranged as a speciality, as guns are cool.

To balance this, I think that "close combat" should cover both brawl and fencing, meaning someone who really dedicates themselves to getting up close and personal, and there are a couple of Background talents that could boost ability to hit, hit quickly, do damage, and dodge when not using a weapon, or using a blade.

Since parry would only be used in close combat, dodge would be useful, but since moving out the way of bullets is tricky, the best way I can see to balance would be to keep the -30% for bows, and increase it to -50% for bullets, but in game it would be more, taking evasive actions rather than just trying to move out of the way. Doing this would reduce options for some other combat actions though, which I'll get into later.

Two gun fighting would be common, but there's already rules for this, so that OK. What I have had an idea about is "snap shot". 6 seconds is a long time for one shot, so any player can choose to use an appropriate firearm twice in a round, but with a -30% (number open to playtesting) to each shot taken, first and second, so would need to be declared before a shot was fired, and the penalties stack with off hand, or two handed attacks. Basically, makes it possible to put a load of lead in the air, but only seasoned gunmen would be likely to hit much.

Taking one shot with one gun means no penalty, and a skilled pistolier would be able to hit more than miss by a comfortable margin if they were happy to take their time.

If someone really wanted to though, they could give up all actions for a CT, and gain an "aiming" bonus. Probably something around 20%, but if they have to dodge, or lose sight of their target, or take any hit more severe that a scratch, they could lose this bonus, as concentrating for that long in a gunfight is risky as hell!
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Re: Making Orbis RPG a wild west game
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2020, 09:41:52 AM »
Fanning needs a certain type of pistol, and is an even more inaccurate way of putting bullets into people, but I certainly want it to be a thing.

The most accurate way I could think of would be to make ranged combat rolls for each round fired, starting at -30%, and each subsequent shot adding a cumulative -30%. This would mean a decent shot might get 2-3 bullets where they need to and an expert might even get 5-6. For a quick combat action though, this would be hella time consuming at the table!

My quick fix for it would be using the character's rank level in the pistol, with rank-1 rounds hitting the target. This would mean someone who barely knew how to use a gun would miss every shot, but at least be able to fire quickly to provide covering fire if needed, and you would need to be rank seven to get every bullet to land. There would still be a negative to even try and fan the hammer, as you are holding a gun at hip level, so not really aiming and literally slapping it with your off hand which really makes it hard to target shoot!

This is one of the harder ones I've had to figure out, so fire off your thoughts and ideas on that one!
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Re: Making Orbis RPG a wild west game
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2020, 09:46:48 AM »
Reloading in combat was next on the challenge list.

Six seconds gives time to do a little bit though, so very rough numbers would be one CT for a break barrel shotgun to reloaded and cocked, ready for the next action.

For revolvers, I was thinking 2CT; opening the chamber, emptying shells, reloading, and closing the thing. Cowpokes in a hurry could make a roll to reduce that time, meaning someone very quick could reload all chambers in a single CT, but a failure would mean dropped bullets as they fumbled. Of course, you could also just spend one CT to load a few bullets and keep shooting if you're in a uch, but you'd need to reload more often.

For breech loaders, I'd say there would be an amount of bullets you could reasonably load in six seconds without danger of fumbling, and then could try and hurry for more, but having never loaded a gun like this, I might have to do a bit of research.

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Re: Making Orbis RPG a wild west game
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2020, 09:51:12 AM »
Final points for now. Armour can sod off, as hardly any bugger would ever bother, and would be a special event if someone was going to wear any.

Critical fumbles though might need some though. Getting a jam in firearm should not be something you can quickly clear in combat without risk of making it worse, or striking a round when you really wouldn't want to! I think having a gunsmith skill should cover this for people attempting it in a firefight, as a Talented skill. A crit fail would need something like 3CT to repair, but a successful roll reduces that, with 3 ranks giving the ability to clear it in one action without a roll, 3 ranks preventing it from ever happening, as you care for your weapons so very well.

That's it for now, I still have reading to do, and loads more work needs doing, but if you have any thoughts or advise, shout out!
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Re: Making Orbis RPG a wild west game
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2020, 09:59:29 AM »
Ned Kelly and his gang are the only individuals who spring to mind in armour..and that's in Australia.
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Re: Making Orbis RPG a wild west game
« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2020, 10:06:10 AM »
There's been a couple of others that I've read about. But one was wearing a mail vest that did nothing to stop him dying of bullet wounds, and the other was a gut who always a long black frock coat with two steel plates in it at chest level. Saved himonce, but the fact that he always had to wear it was a problem in and of itself
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Re: Making Orbis RPG a wild west game
« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2020, 10:09:12 AM »
Few odd thoughts...
You could add shuriken for 'Kung Fu' ?
Some rules allow close range shotgun blasts to knock a figure a distance (bit like a shield bash in some rules].
Smoke from firearm discharge being mentioned [until cordite ammo is used].
Bolt action v lever action, not usually addressed in rules but in wargames rules lever actions usually have no faults. Lever actions are more prone to breakage and its easier to reload prone with a bolt action.



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Re: Making Orbis RPG a wild west game
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2020, 10:17:19 AM »
My main thought for a martial art would be a rank 3 perk of any item that could be reasonable used as improvised weapon loses the negative traits associated with being improvised. Rank 6 would probably be something along the lines of extra damage. It's always tempting to go a bit kung-fu movie and give them fists of steel or something, but I'm trying to keep this game grounded and realistic whenever possible
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Re: Making Orbis RPG a wild west game
« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2020, 10:25:04 AM »
There's been a couple of others that I've read about. But one was wearing a mail vest that did nothing to stop him dying of bullet wounds, and the other was a gut who always a long black frock coat with two steel plates in it at chest level. Saved himonce, but the fact that he always had to wear it was a problem in and of itself
I agree, not much armour was used and it was of little use against modern weapons. 
The only other instance of body armour  I could think of was [bar shields used by American Indians] the one used by Shirt' or 'Iron Jacket', a Commanche believed to have an invulnerable shirt passed down along his ancestors. Believed to be invulnerable by his followers, his protection didn't stop a heavy and powerful bullet. It proved to be a mail shirt worn under his attire, probably an old relic from the Spanish!
   
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Re: Making Orbis RPG a wild west game
« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2020, 10:27:17 AM »
I've read about that one!
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Re: Making Orbis RPG a wild west game
« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2020, 04:40:26 PM »
Still got work to do, but happy with my progress so far. Might need to spend some time formatting though...

https://www.dropbox.com/s/7cd8pgonej8kepr/Old%20West.docx?dl=0
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Re: Making Orbis RPG a wild west game
« Reply #13 on: April 02, 2020, 04:32:30 PM »
So, here's the character generation bit, plus a new rule for handling gambling that I've got done so far. Formatting is ongoing, so try not to judge me too harshly for that. If you have any other thoughts or ideas though, I'd like to hear them, just try not to be a dick.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/fxawdxemxnqie8v/Old%20West.pdf?dl=0
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Re: Making Orbis RPG a wild west game
« Reply #14 on: April 09, 2020, 02:56:52 PM »
Whole bunch of extra setting relevant rules, new weapons, and updated combat added now. I think there's only equipment left after this, unless anyone sees any other glaring gaps that would be needed for people to generate characters?

As always, happy for feedback, but remember that formatting is still getting done on the fly.

Orbis West
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