Saturday, 24 January 2015

Proper Shootouts

As I hinted in the previous post, I decided that playing a battle against 28 Apaches was not what I wanted from my Wild West game, whatever the dice suggested. So it turned out that Mandingo was sick when that patrol set off to the isolated blockhouse in the Wyoming desert, and Spring 1876 instead found him in the tiny frontier town of Sick Dog's Paw.
The first encounter was a Gunfight type 1 (G-1) which means a one-on-one shootout in the classic High Noon fashion. Rolling my opponent and the location I found that Mandingo had been challenged by an Outlaw in the Saloon. The outlaw had taken more redeye bourbon than was good for him, I assume. Rolling on the NPC table I found that the outlaw had a rep of 4, one less than Mandingo.
The shootout starts with a Draw test - each side rolls a number of D6 equal to their Rep, trying to get 1,2,3 as successes. As a Gunfighter Mandingo gets an extra die, so he rolled 6, Jake (the outlaw) rolled 4. Jake rolled just one success, while Mandingo got 4 - so he had three more successes. This means that the victor has "Got the Drop", and normally that gives the slower party a roll to see if he surrenders, or tries to carry on with the draw at a disadvantage. However Gunfighters (and outlaws) are different - if they get the drop they don't mess around with anything as chivalrous as letting the other fellow surrender, they just shoot. Furthermore, if any of their dice have rolled 3, as was the case here, then the opponent is Obviously Dead (which means what it says). So Mandingo emptied his gun into the upstart (and now late) Jake, and returned to his drink.

Later, we had another gunfight, and again we rolled a G-1. This time it was outside in the street, and the opponent was another Gunfighter. Indeed this would be a tougher test - rolling for the NPC we found that Mandingo faced an opponent with the same Rep (5) and Toughness (4) and a higher Sand (5).
So both sides rolled six dice in the Draw Test (Rep of 5 plus one for being a Gunfighter), and both scored two successes. This meant that they had both drawn and fired with no effect, and the game now proceeds to "normal" turns. In addition anyone who rolled a 1 on any of their dice would have emptied their gun - and this applied to Mandingo.
In the first turn they rolled for initiative, and both scored 4. A tie means that neither side can fire or move, but they can reload. This of course was exactly what Mandingo needed, and he duly did so.
Now on even terms, they rolled again for initiative. Mandingo scored 6, his opponent (Clint) scored 2. So Mandingo had the initiative, but it was not as simple as that. The winner can only take actions with characters whose Rep is at least as high as the initiative roll. In this case, with a roll of 6 and Mandingo's Rep of 5, that meant he could not take action, and it passed to Clint.
Clint now fired, two shots with his pistol. Adding his Rep to a single D6 he needed to score at least 8 for a hit, but two 2's meant two misses. Mandingo now needed to take a "Been Shot At" test, and being a Star (i.e. a main character) he was allowed to choose his reaction - so he chose to fire back.
As before there were two shots, adding Mandingo's Rep of 5 to a single die roll - and in this case adding another one because Mandingo has the Crackshot ability. He rolled a 6, and the total of 11+ meant that he could choose the hit location. He picked the head, but Clint had a "Been Hit" test with two rolls against his Toughness and passed them both, so it was just a graze. Mandingo rolled again, and again scored 11+. This time he picked the gut as the hit location, and Clint only passed one of his two rolls. That meant that he was out of action, and Mandingo had won.
After the fight Mandingo rolled for possible stat advancement and by scoring a 6 hs added one to his Sand score (Sand is effectively Nerve, or Coolness - a combination of courage and quick decision making).
My verdict on these fights? - "now this is more like it". Both of these engagements felt as they should, as simulations of the somewhat cinematic scenarios. In the first a foolish outlaw challenged the gunslinger and it was all over in a second - one roll of the dice, literally. In the second fight it was closer, two evenly matched opponents exchanged rapid fire until someone found the killing shot. All quick and clean - this is the sweet spot for these rules.

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