Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Weird West and Emulators - Part 1

Recently I found out about the Universal NPC Emulator, on the Mythic discussion group. This universal system, written by Zach Best from Conjecture Games, consists of two parts: the NPC Creator, meant to give an overall description and motivations to an NPC; and the NPC Association Emulator that takes care of the interaction between the NPC and player characters.

So I decided to combine it with the Mythic GM Emulator and run a solo game of the Weird West Role Playing Game by Stuart Robertson. I started creating a party of three characters. I allocated the attributes for all three, then used the NPC creator to get the motivations of Strong Tom and Doc McPherson.

William Hays (Adventurer): Fighting 1, Grit 2, Skill 1, Stamina 7. Equipment: leather duster coat, six shooter, knife.
William came to the west on a caravan of settlers and prospectors when he was eleven. He was fascinated by the weird things that would scare other people, and soon he started his carreer as a traveling jack-of-all-trades. [This is the "main" character and as such I didn't roll for his motivations.]

Strong Tom (Fighter): Fighting 2, Grit 2, Stamina 14. Equipment: leather coat, six shooter, sabre.
Strong Tom is an enigmatic figure. Although he clearly comes from a wealthy family, given his manners and possessions, no one seems to know his real name or origin. He's always wearing a golden ring with three tiny rubies on his left hand and there's speculation on whether it's a gift from a secret lover, a mark of his heritage or a symbol of some mystic society from distant Europe. In any case, he's a skilled fighter and has saved his companions more than once. [Rolled motivations: informs wealth, produces riddles, collaborates with secret societies.]

Dr. McPherson (Gifted): Grit 1, Magic 2, Skill 1, Stamina 4. Has the weird abilities Hypnosis and Medicine Bag. Equipment: leather duster coat, shotgun, medicine bag.
In the weird west there are several "doctors" selling miracle cures and crazy inventions, but Doc McPherson is genuine. His inseparable dark brown leather bag holds a multitude of vials, powders and salves for every kind of situation. He says he's able to speak to the soul of a person, bringing out the truth from liars and defeating troublemakers without violence. Indians don't like the doctor, claiming he violates sacred grounds to make his concoctions. He always says that he's only interested in learning the secrets of the land, which the indians try to keep to themselves. Other people see the ol' doc as a friendly figure, often playing his harmonica and aiding the poor with food or medicine. [Rolled motivations: robs old religions, implements music, indulges the poor]

I thought I'd also determine the relationships between the characters. Considering they're a group of adventurers working together, I cooked up the following table based on the NPC relationship scale from the Universal NPC Emulator:

Roll of a D10
1-2 Distrustful
3-6 Neutral
7-8 Peaceful
9 Friendly
10 Complete trust / love

Rolling for each character's views on each other I got the following results: William is Neutral towards Tom and Friendly towards Doc McPherson. Strong Tom is Neutral towards William and Distrustful of Doc McPherson. Doc McPherson is Peaceful towards William and Tom. So William and Tom respect each other as far as the job goes and that's about it. The doctor is easygoing, willing to trust both of his companions. William really likes the old man, maybe admiring his resourcefulness -- after all, Doc's been wandering the west for quite a while, and that's William's passion. It is a pity that Tom isn't as trusting of him (and sometimes it shows) or he could be the force that holds the group together in hard times.

This concludes part 1 of this playtest. I intend to play a solo session and report it on the second (and final) part during the next weekend. For now, I can say that the Universal NPC Emulator worked great to add detail to the characters and it is another valuable resource whether for solo play or gaming in groups.

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