Review: Weird West

Want a little Kung-fu, six-guns, and wizardry? Well that's what Weird West hopes you do. The description at Drive ThruRPG is as follows.

The streamlined and fast playing adventure roleplaying game for weird western worlds of cowboys, kung-fu, magic and otherworldly malevolence.

The entire rulebook so to speak is only 8 pages. It was done this way, so it can be in pocketmod format. As matter of fact when you purchase it off of Drive ThruRPG, you get both a pocketmod version and the standard version. The standard version is easily readable by both my Droid X smartphone and my Kindle DX. On my Kindle DX, I think the font seemed too big, but since this was designed to work with much smaller screens, I can understand that.

Character Generation is simple as a starting character you get four points to split among 4 attributes: Fighting, Grit, Magic, and Skill. The only one you need to have at least one is Grit. It is used to determine your Stamina Points, which is sort of like Hit Points in D&D. Each character will then choose a path: Adventurer, Gifted, Fighter, or Magician. These will provide the attributes modifiers as the characters advance in level. One thing that I did find interesting was how stamina points worked. Each session you roll you stamina points. You roll one die based on your path for each Grit point you have, which is why you need at least one when you first make up your character. If the roll is higher than what's you have currently, you use that one instead. I'm not sure if I understand the idea here completely. I guess it is meant as a way to make sure players have as many stamina points as possible.

Level advancement is at the groups choice. They get to decide when and if characters advance. Normally, I might consider this a cop-out but since this is simple game and I would not think that this is something to run a long term campaign with, I don't see this as a big issue. Like most level based games, players are assumed to start at level one

As was noted in the description, there is magic available. For each point of Magic, a player gets one spell/weird ability. In sense, nothing covered under mundane skills or mundane fighting is considered Magic. For example, if you want to be Kung-Fu person, you would need to have 1 point of magic so you could take Shaolin Monk. There are only a few abilities listed in the magic section. Enough to get you started, but there could be more in the future.

When your player attempts to do things, they are called 'Tasks'. A Task is resolved with a d6 with a five or greater indicating success. You get to add the relevant attribute and subtract the challenge level. All and in all pretty simple.

Combat in Weird West is pretty simple. Initiative is based off level, higher level characters go first. A fighting action is chosen. This can modify your fighting and your skill for that round. The attacker's modified fight and the target's modified defense is compared is cross referenced on a chart which gives you a target number to beat on d20. After looking at the chart, I would simply say, 10 + target's defense - modified fight is the number you need.

In addition to the rules to handle damage and healing, that's all that is in the rule book. Like many PocketMod games, you have to add additional material yourself. This is not a bad thing. games in this category are suppose to be simple and fast to play. A good Game Master should be able to scenario for this genre.

Overall, I think the rules do what they need to do. Be simple and allow someone to run a quick game. I'm likely going to print out the pocket mod version and put it with my Microlite20 PocketMod Rules. Which of course is in my backpack. The only thing that would help is an adventure in PocketMod format. Sadly because my current group doesn't do much beyond D&D, I'll have to wait for some people that are open to non-D&D games.

Weird West is available for 1 USD at Drive ThruRPG

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