February 23, 2018

Pulling Adventure Ideas from Western Novels - Heller with a Gun

The 3rd Louis L'amour Western novel in my pile is Heller with a Gun. The hero is a super fast gunfighter, the title's heller with a gun. He encounters an acting troupe making their way west and they've hired a guide to take them through the snow-covered mountains. The hero falls for one of the actresses and realizes the guide is a crook after the actors' money. So he follows them but before he can rescue the acting troupe, the hero is ambushed!

The woman lock themselves in a wagon and have a gun to protect themselves. The sole man of the acting troupe gets away and finds the hero and they hole up in a cabin while the hero heals from his wounds. Then begins a game of cat and mouse with the bad guys trying to find the escaped actor and the actor getting advice from the hero and trying to free the women. Then a third faction arrives - hostile Indians! First the Indians try to steal the hero's horse. The hero has healed enough to shoot one and drive the rest away. Then the Indians attack the wagons, killing some bad guys and getting the locked wagon door open. The hero arrives just in time again!

Then the cat & mouse game starts again. The surviving bad guys are after the good guys and the Indians may be after them both! The good guys are trying to make it to town and near the end, they stay at another cabin for the night. There, they are attacked by the bad guys who capture the male actor and the female actor who the hero has fallen for. Luckily, the hero is a heller with a gun!

The great thing about this book are the different factions interacting, the hiding and finding, and the action scene at the end where the bad guys have the place surrounded. A very nice adventure or even a random encounter for sandbox play!


February 20, 2018

Pulling Adventure Ideas from Western Novels - Hondo

I recently finished the 2nd Louis L'amour Western novel in my pile. This one is Hondo, which was his first novel published in the USA. It's a pretty simple story with the hero encountering a woman and her 6-year-old boy living alone in Apache territory. It seems her husband abandoned them but she doesn't worry about the Apaches. They've always had good relations. Our hero, Hondo, is skeptical. The Apaches are at war with the white man and Hondo is half Apache and serving as a scout for the US Army. He regretfully leaves the woman and finds his Company all killed by Apaches. He comes back to report and finds the woman's husband. The husband is scum of the worst kind and tries to shoot Hondo in the back. Of course, Hondo kills him first.

Meanwhile, the Apache chief is in a bit of a bind. He has sworn to wipe out all whites but he has had friendly relations with this woman's family for many years. In order to satisfy his honor and his tribe, he makes the boy his blood brother and gives him his headband to wear. This is the bit that I found interesting. Do you have a hostile enemy in your RPG campaign? Make them honorable. Have them make special exceptions to their plans of conquest or revenge. This makes the enemy interesting and able to dealt with in more ways than just combat.

Have you done this in your campaign? Tell me your stories!

February 16, 2018

Pulling Adventure Ideas from Western Novels - Westward: The Tide

I haven't read a lot of Western novels but from what I have read, I love them for adventure ideas because they're usually pretty focused on the action, which is how I like my RPGs. I got a whole bunch of Louis L'amour novels recently and have decided to read through them. I just finished the first one, Westward: The Tide.

The main premise of this novel is a great one for RPGs: there a huge vein of gold just discovered and waiting to be mined (this could be a dungeon just cleared of monsters in a D&D game) but it's in hostile Indian territory and the finder of this secret gold vein wants others to come found a town and help mine the gold. They sell stakes to the claim and go to find the gold vein in a big wagon train filled with supplies.

The twist: It seems one of the leaders of the wagon train and brought a lot of gunfighters with him and not many supplies. Why could that be? Well, it seems the leader is a notorious villain on the run who is planning to murder most of the men and then take all the supplies and sell them. In fact, there may not even be a real gold vein discovered!

Of course, our hero figures all this out and enlists some of his friends to stop this fiendish plan but they are taken by surprise by the villain and his men and the hero is left for dead. You can guess how it all ends.

This book was his first published novel and it shows but I love the wagon train going to get rich idea and the villains just wanting to steal the wagon train itself after murdering everyone. Sounds like a perfect idea to start off a campaign to me.

What do you think?