The date is January 1, 1878. President Lincoln and General Lee are both dead (or are they?). Both the Union and the Confederate States of America (CSA) are racing to build railroads across the west to gain access to Ghost Rock, found mostly in the Great Maze, formerly the coast of California. Denver, the mecca of the mid-west, draws you as you are down to your last few gold dollars. Fame, fortune, woman, booze, legends, rumors, gunfights, shaman, ’injuns, madmen, the allure of freedom and the risk of certain death all comingle in the streets of Denver… welcome to the Weird West!
Steam Dust mixes the worlds of cowboys, steampunk, and all manner of evil and the occult — you know, the Weird West!
SteamDust will be run with the players staying together in a group for the most part. This will allow for good dialogue between them and will allow me to keep a central plot. There may be times when the players split up for certain activities but the goal is to always bring them back together to advance the plot.
We will be using Savage Worlds RPG rules but on a much simplified basis. For scenes in which you describe something that requires a skill, please make your skill roll offline (we are going on the honor system here) and just adjust your narrative depending on your success or failure. For contested rolls against NPCs, I will roll for them and let you know if we have to tweak a scene (things don’t always go the way the heroes like).
For combat scenes, we are not going to roll for every attack on every round. Instead, we are going to simplify the rolls like this:
1. Make your attack roll offline (honor system)
2. When you post, use the narrative to explain whether you missed or hit a devastating attack (aces with raises, etc.) then convert all that into a scale of 1-10 (10 being the most devastating hit) and post that the number in brackets in your post.
3. You can add +1 to your 1d10 number if the skill would have been used.
3. I will roll a “defensive” roll on 1d10, add any +1 for relevant skills and compare it to your posted bracketed score. Range and cover can also each add +1 to the defensive number.
4. If both numbers are the same, it was a stalemate scene with no one having the advantage.
5. If the offensive number is higher than the defensive number, the attacked has the advantage for that scene and gets a +1 to their next offensive roll.
6. If the defensive number if higher than the offensive number, the defender has the advantage and gets +1 to the defensive number.
7. If the spread is over 5, the other side is defeated (not always death, but could be fleeing, capture, seriously wounded or death).
8. If the fight continues, just repeat the process.
Here is an example, player A swings a club at player B. Player A’s attack dice is 1d6 and he rolls a 4. His narrative description also talks about taunting Player B and acrobatics [so imagine a post that has the player talking smack, doing a surprise tumble to flank Player B and then the club swing] and each of those skill uses add +1 to the 4 bringing the offensive number to 6. As the moderator, and the person running Player B, I read the post and roll a defense number 1d10. I have the “block” edge and “fighting skill”, so I will add +2 to the defensive number. I rolled a 2 +2 =4. So I post Player B’s post knowing that Player A got the best of me during that round but since the spread between 4 and 6 was only two, the next round of the scene is standard with no additional bonuses.
This system is fluid and there will be scenes in which we kind-a-make it up as we go on the rolls. I do not want to bog down the story-telling with lots of rolls, which is why these rolls happen offline and your narrative works in the results.
For scenes with powers, guns, etc., just go with your gut on how to add your bonuses.