So -- like many of you, I imagine -- I picked up Robertson Games' Weird West Basic Rules this week. And since then various images and half-formed ideas have been dancing around my head. The purpose of this post is to document these fragments and work them into a semi-coherent setting. One of the beautiful things about Stuart's rules is that they have that nigh-infinite flexibility we associate with Original D&D.
Anyway, Cowboy Death Trip is a western/pioneer fantasy set in a sort of "halfway house" reality known variously as "the Hold" and "the Vaportraps," depending on who one talks to. The Hold is in the process of being settled by men and women from the Decadent Lands, who come to the region in search of wealth. Boom towns have quickly grown around natural fissures where valuable Kythamine vapors rise up. Pumps trap this vapor and convey it to the Crystallizers, which compress and concentrate it into sickly purple stones. Kythamine crystals are used to manufacture ansibles, machines which enable two-way communication between disparate realities.
Conflict stems between the settlers and the creatures indigenous to the Bottomless Cataract, the largest vapor well in the region. These are the Phantoms, boogeymen who take physical form during electrical storms (which are fairly common occurrences). At other times these creatures are purely "psychic" -- that is they float around unseen, observing and occasionally speaking. Their storm-wrought manifestations are disguises they assume to harass and molest human settlers. Many resemble inky blobs of viscous darkness with one, two or several eerie, glowing orbs which deliver their disorienting gaze attacks.
- clockwork mecha
- exotic animals and plant-life
- sail barges
- "cows" -- genetically engineered herd mammals
- bounty hunters