The Western Campaign, Part 2

This ( Our Guns Of Brimstone Campaign) started out as a take on the Boot Hill 2nd Edition Module "Brimstone" that was published in Dragon Magazine back in the day. Well, it didn't stay that way. One of the biggest problems people seem to have with a Western Game is "What do we do?" Ride in to town, shoot the place up, rob the bank and everyone dies. How do you keep from doing the same old same old tired Western Movie cliches as adventures? I wanted to go in a different direction.

Not everyone on the Frontier was a cowboy or a lawman.  The time between 1865 and 1900 was a time of huge, sweeping changes in American life. All kinds of folks came West. What I did with Brimstone was to take a detailed view. I focused in on the details of daily life as best I could figure them out. People's petty little plots, and who's cheating on who. A cast of gray characters with different goals and agendas. The closest analog would be to running a Fantasy Urban Campaign, where everyone lives in the same city. I crossed Thieves World with Deadwood.

Between the cast of NPCs that live in town, and the cast that wander through, there's a lot going on. Almost more than I can keep up with. One thing that has helped, and has also added more plots, was having a newspaper for the Town. This way, I can foreshadow events, and introduce new characters without having to role play the meetings. You know how players are. If it seems to be important, they'll focus on it. As an article in a newspaper, it might be important, or it might not.

Keeping the players in suspense is a big part of my style of GMing. Anything my players focus on has something attached to it. A big plot, a small plot, I dunno, but it has to be something. All threads lead somewhere. Its a huge challenge to me to think on my feet so to speak. I really enjoy it.

Here are a couple of issues of the Devil's Advocate, the newspaper of Brimstone, New Mexico Territory. Currently, there are just two issues, since the printing press was trashed in a riot the PCs caused in game.

Volume One, Issue One

Volume One, Issue Two


Trey said...

Cool props!

paladin said...

Now, that's unbelievable cool, Brent! So, if I read those newspapers, I will get campaign hints and hidden infos !? How cool is that? That reminds me of the newspapers you got as plot-drive and information-mill for some Sherlock-Holmes-Detective-games from the 80ties. I will read through this stuff for some frontier-town-flair ... .

Brent Davis said...

Exactly. And thanks. It gives the players a look at themselves through the eyes of regular folks.

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