Incredibly awesome figure “Ruby”

I was pointed to this on DakkaDakka, but it’s from Studio McVey. Although it’s not a recognizable dinosaur, the slightly sci-fi feel to the cowgirl takes it to the next level. I remember Mike McVey’s awesome Warhammer Quest diorama from White Dwarf way back in the day, so it’s great to see he’s still sculpting and producing fine works.

(Note: Scheduled vacation post. Back October 4th)

Zombie Dinosaurs?

The zombification doesn’t hugely interest me, but the concept art of cowboys and dinosaurs is, of course, great. This is from a canceled video game called Dinosaurs vs Alamo (of which there are but a few scant details around).

(Note: Scheduled vacation post. Back October 4th)

Preview of v0.91

NOTE: v1.0 was released on October 31st, 2011, so use that version instead.

Since I’ll be working hard on getting a final release out by October 10th I thought I’d show folks how the rulebook has been shaping up since v0.91.

There a bunch of minor changes and editing, but the biggest two changes are: Dinosaur rules have been hugely updated (Discipline, Breeds, new roster layout, etc.) and I tried putting in my historical sepia images. Here are some other highlights:

  • Added Dinosaur Discipline, Breed, and other rule changes and clarifications.
  • Added historical images throughout the rulebook for flavor.
  • Added fan made Overland Map thanks to Felix.
  • New headers and example box formatting and page numbering style.
  • Changed Stopped/Stunned to disallow the Movement/Action phase respectively.
  • Clarified Fleeing through an enemy entity is considered impossible so Stunned instead.
  • Added Fan the Hammer special ability to Six-Shooters.
  • Added Scattergun, 10-Pound Cannon, and Field Gun weapons.
  • Changed AR 4 armor to reduce MV by -1 (instead of 0), cascaded change down to AR 7.
  • Edited and updated the History section.
  • Capped Hitpoints at 50 instead of Unlimited.

Anyways I’d like some feedback on the image integration (does it look good, does it print well, how do you feel about the increased file size, etc.) and the new Dinosaur rules (does Discipline work over Bravery, is Panic Movement fun or tedious, etc.). If all the rules make sense and continue to playtest well this is probably what v1.0 will look like. I mean I’ll have some more eye-for-detail editing and dozens of re-reads to make sure everything makes sense and flows well, but yeah, getting close!

Download the Dinosaur Cowboys Rulebook v0.91 Preview and let me know what you think!

(Note: Scheduled vacation post. Back October 4th)

Poking and prodding a finished game?

After mulling over the idea of Grit for a while, I realized something: Given a long enough timeline I’m going to prod this game to death (thus the dino-prod image to the right). What I mean is if I keep looking for stuff to change or improve or edit I’m going to find it…or fabricate it. Hitpoints worked perfectly well (as Red_Starrise pointed out yesterday), and yet here I am coming up with a different mechanic for them. Sure it’s a neat mechanic, but it’s also more complex (both to learn and to use), and that gets away from my original goals for the core rulebook.

So what does this mean for Dinosaur Cowboys? It means that I need to just say (in a western accent) “These here rules be done!”, release v1.0, and bask in the glory of completing a project. Otherwise I’ll keep coming up with new ideas and new mechanics that I’ll try to shoehorn into this game just because it’s my current project. Normally I’m so incredibly ready to be done with a game, but with Dinosaur Cowboys it’s different because I’ve really enjoyed the process, still like the setting, and generally think it’s one of the most solid rulesets I’ve come up with. But my brain keeps churning up new ideas, and forcing them into a nearly-finished project is probably not the best strategy.

I was aiming to release v1.0 by the end of Christmas, but instead I think I’ll try to wrangle ‘er up before the end of October. Maybe even by Canadian Thanksgiving (it’s kind of western…) which is October 10th. Having a deadline is a good idea since otherwise I could see floundering around, making small tweaks and needless changes and so forth until the year 2285.

The downside to finishing the rules is it’s hard to maintain outside interest and fans of the game without continually releasing or updating something. A game that never changes is kinda hard to get psyched about, I guess. Maybe that’s why splatbooks were so common for D&D and the like. I think this blog will be less active after v1.0, and probably more focused on battle reports and the like. We’ll see how that all pans out when I get there.

So what I’m saying is v1.0 of Dinosaur Cowboys will be available October 10th, 2011. Set your sun dials, boys and girls.
OCTOBER 11th EDIT: Whoops that was a lie. End of October instead!

And on that note I’m going on vacation, since nothing is as productive as not working, haha. I’ll be out next week, but have scheduled two image based posts for September 26th and 29th. Until then, cowboy…

Variant Rule: Grit instead of HP

Brainstormin’ on HP
Recently I’ve gotten a few discussions going around the web about alternatives to Hitpoints in games, specifically in this game. So I figured why not have one more discussion in the form of this post…

RPGs have an easier time of it because they can afford more complex rules (like the mess of addition the Green Ronin ‘Toughness save’ is). For skirmish I see a too-light version where a model can die pretty easily, such as the Knocked Down / Stunned / Out of Action approach of Mordheim or the Flesh Wound of Necromunda. I wanted to have SOME survivability to models, so I went for lower levels of Hitpoints. Now however I’m reconsidering that.

Variant Rule: Grit
Instead of Hitpoints each character has a new Grit statistic. This statistic would be a die type, with lower being worse, such as D4, D6, D8, D10, D12. When they take damage they make a “Grit Save” which succeeds if they roll their Grit die greater than or equal to the incoming damage. If the save succeeds nothing negative happens. If it fails or the damage exceeds their Grit die they need to mark a location as Hit. There are 4 locations: Legs, Left/Right Arm, Torso that correspond to a statistic on the roster, specifically: MV, RMC, MMC, AR. Tracking which location is hit would be done through checkboxes put underneath the statistic on the roster. When checked that location is damaged and they suffer a corresponding penalty of -1 MV, +1 RMC/MMC, or -1 AR. When all 4 locations are hit they are dead.
For Example: Peggy is hit for 5 damage and has D8 Grit. She rolls the D8 and gets a 7, which is successful (7 > 5). If she had rolled a 4 or less or had D4 Grit (too low to save) it would have failed. Upon failure she might choose to mark her Movement (Legs) as hit, which would make her have -1 MV for the rest of the game.

Analyzing the Rule
This might make people TOO hard to kill, since with a high enough Grit (for example D12) and crappy enough damage from the enemy you wouldn’t even be hit ever. I think balancing Grit and possible weapon damage would be the hardest part. High Armor was balanced by imposing Movement penalties, and high HP costs a ton of IP or Traits, and even still you can’t get a massive amount right away. But with Grit you could maybe power up to D12 early on by making huge sacrifices, but then they’d be invincible basically. Well I guess there is still the chance they roll poorly on the save itself.
I also don’t like the system because it’s one more roll. One of my biggest complaints with Warhammer 40k is how much WORK it is to shoot something. I don’t want DC to become like that too.
In all honesty I think I just really like this mechanic, so maybe I’ll use it in another game in the future instead of trying to force it into this game at such a late date. Either that or edit up and paste the above block into the rulebook as a variant, which is the most likely case.

In Other News…
I played through the The Great T-Rex Hunt I outlined a while ago. It was pretty fun and had a different feel to it, but was more a numbers game of whittling down the t-rex before he could one-hit-kill the entire Posse. I’ll be posting those pictures and write up soon, and hopefully getting a more traditional game in with the new Dinosaur Discipline / Breed rules. Ideally I’ll play and report on at least one DC game per month. If everything works for the latest revisions I think I might be almost at v1.0 too, woot (or “yeehaw!” if we’re going for flavor).

Feeling Famous Now

I’ve always been a fan of the website Board Game Geek. They certainly are Eurogame-centric (as most boardgamers are) but they still have great resources and communities for smaller, older, or out of print games. Plus it’s fun to read up on a game someone told you about and see what the buzz is around it.

So it’s with great pleasure I announce that Dinosaur Cowboys got added to the BGG database. That’s right, all approved and added and official looking. Feel free to see and contribute to the new Dinosaur Cowboys BGG item.

I’ve been asked a couple of times about possibly setting up forums somewhere for discussion. I try to get discussions going at half a dozen websites, so that’s definitely a valid request. To that end I’m making the BGG forum for Dinosaur Cowboys the de-facto place to discuss ideas, traits, adventures, game sessions, etc. The link is available at the above page or in the sidebar of this blog, or you can go directly to the official Dinosaur Cowboys Forum. Hopefully we can get some lively chatter going on in there.

Rule Changes for Dinosaurs (Discipline, Breeds, etc.)

You would have though v0.9 would be late in the game to change any rules significantly, and yet here we are! I just did some pretty major revisions around the rules for Dinosaurs.
This all started when I considered having dinosaurs ignore difficult terrain last week. I realized that they have some unique characteristics to differentiate a dinosaur from a human cowboy…but not really enough cool things about them. They were basically bulky melee fighters who had a lot of HP and could transport people.

With this in mind I changed two main features of Dinosaurs: Discipline and Breed. Before I get into those let me dazzle you with the new Dinosaur Type List from the updated rules:

Dinosaur Discipline
Bravery didn’t make a ton of sense with Dinosaurs because they hardly ever took over half damage from a single attack (like in the case of a 30+HP monster). I still wanted a way to show how controlled and trained a Dinosaur was, so I added the “Discipline” stat as a replacement. Instead of duplicating a description of this stat I’ll just paste an excerpt from the rulebook:

Discipline represents a dinosaur’s ability to perform in combat while suffering pain, surprise, fear, and other trying emotions of battle. A higher discipline means a dinosaur will be able to maintain a consistent pace and direction and obey any rider’s commands. A lower discipline means the dinosaur is more likely to circle in panic and stumble around in fear.

How to use Discipline
If a dinosaur suffers damage greater than or equal to their Discipline value from a single ranged or melee attack they will panic.
Mark them with a “Panic” token. Multiple Panic tokens can be placed on each dinosaur.
For example a Horned Dinosaur has a Discipline of 8. They are hit by a Rotary Rifle for 11 damage and are therefore marked with a Panic token. During the next Activation they are hit by a Bundle of Dynamite for a further 8 damage, so another Panic token is added.

Effect of Panic
When marked with one or more Panic token dinosaurs will use their Panic Movement, as recorded on the Posse Roster.
For example a Runner Dinosaur has a Movement statistic of 10 and a Panic Movement of D10. If they were marked with a Panic token they would have to roll D10 to decide how far they can Standard Move, instead of using the static 10 value.

Recovering from Panic
At the end of the dinosaur’s Activation remove 1 Panic token.
If the dinosaur is mounted remove an additional 1 Panic token.
For example a King Dinosaur (with two passengers) has 3 Panic tokens at the start of the turn. Eventually it Activates, rolls D6 for it’s Panic Movement with a result of 2. The King performs a 2″ Standard Move and then a rider fires. The King’s Activation is done, so 2 Panic tokens are removed (1 default with a bonus 1 removed because the King is mounted).

What this means is if a dinosaur takes damage >= Discipline they use Panic Movement instead, which is a random amount similar to their maximum static Movement (so a MV 6 dino gets D6 Panic MV). Nice and simple, and the idea of stacking multiple Panic tokens is fun because it really rewards pouring fire into a dinosaur. Plus it’s an elegant way to have an easy benefit if there is a rider present (as compared to having to manually modify the Discipline stat).
To support this I had originally aimed for Trained/Untrained as a choice you could make when buying a Dinosaur. Trained would give +1 DIS, -2 HP and Untrained would be -1 DIS, +2 HP. But then Kyles Games on The Forge forums pointed out that having a version that doesn’t modify stats at all would be nice. I instantly thought of the Bandit Allegiance for humans, and then I thought “Hey why not have Allegiances for dinosaurs!” After I had completed a preliminary sketch of those rules I changed the name from Allegiance to Breed, to once again distinguish dinosaurs that little bit more.

Dinosaur Breed
Again an excerpt from the rulebook is probably easiest for this:

Choose a Breed for the dinosaur (similar to Allegiance for a human) from the available four detailed below. Apply any modifiers to the default base values for each statistic.
When marking the Breed on the Posse Roster, circle the corresponding letter in the box to the left of the Dinosaur Name field (for example “T” for Trained).

Trained dinosaurs are born in captivity or raised in a human environment soon after birth and make ideal companions. They are disciplined mounts well versed in accepting a rider and carrying them safely through battle. However they are slightly gentler after having their primal instincts suppressed.

Effect: +1 DIS, -2 HP

Untrained dinosaurs have some exposure to humans but not enough to be fully broken into a saddle and harness. This majority of dinosaurs are this type of breed, and such an upbringing has no positive or negative effect on their performance.

Effect: None

Feral dinosaurs are wild and free and hunt through the jungles and deserts of the world. They tend to be tougher and less disciplined and think more with their stomachs than brains.

Effect: -1 DIS, +2 HP

Plains dinosaurs roam across the flat scrub land, desert, and dust bowls outside the volcanic jungle. As a result they are exceptionally fast and agile, but are less competent in a fight because of their tendency to outrun foes instead.

Effect: +1 MV, +1 MMC

After all these changes I also hugely cleaned up and edited the Dinosaur section in general to be clearer. I also had to update the Dinosaur Type List table to include Panic MV, Discipline, etc. as you saw above. And then of course the Posse Roster needed to be changed to handle all this new dinosaur info, which worked out great because it makes the Dinosaur section at the bottom just a tiny bit different looking…I’m going to laugh if later I go “Ugh these rules are ALMOST the same why don’t I just merge them?” and basically undo all my work.

But anyways here’s an example of the Dinosaur statline on the Posse Roster:

Now I’ll just playtest these rules and then you might see a v0.91 or v0.95 coming to a download near you :)

A Photographic Walk Down Memory Lane

You know this project has been going on for quite a while now, basically since the first egg of an idea in November 2009. Now this blog has recently received it’s 3,000th view, which is big news for a small fries rules designer like me.
So I thought I’d take a moment and reflect on the Dinosaur Cowboy roots. The pictures below are from the first game I played of Dinosaur Cowboys, basically with some early sheets and scrap paper for rules ideas. In this case I pitted two totally made up characters against each other. Originally the game was meant to be an RPG, which is why the sheets you see are so much more detailed than the simple and elegant statline on the modern roster. I like it too because you can see a bunch of old weapons, the original damage track idea (a mechanic I love from Silent Death), and so forth. You can also see similarities though, like the weapon statline which is fairly similar to what is used today.
Anyways interesting and fun either way!

Posse: The Dust Bowl Drifters

I’ve been really lucky again with the interest shown by fans, in this case from Red_Starrise on the DakkaDakka forums who created a posse for use with Dinosaur Cowboys called “The Dust Bowl Drifters”. Below are the figures along with descriptive background text he wrote. Thanks for the effort and great results; it’s always wicked to see more people trying the game!

“The Drifters were formed by outlaw Tyler Blake in Southern Oklahoma. They’re a band of hired guns who are well known & feared for their callous nature. They aren’t really BAD guys, per se, but they sure aren’t the good guys either.”

“Tyler Blake, a former caravan guard & merchant guild soldier, he’s a West Texan with a quick temper & an even quicker draw. Local legend is that he’s gunned down 15 men, including lawmen, bounty hunters, bandits & outlaws. Ask him, he’ll tell you to mind your own damn business. Blake knows of his own dislike for killing, especially cold-blooded murder but that doesn’t stop him taking contracts to do so.”

“Silas Martin, a drifter from where, he won’t say. Martin threw in with Blake a few months back after a situation in a saloon in Odessa involving a card game. He found himself with a gun to his head after a trike drover accused him of cheating. Martin’s bullwhip disarmed the man but also cost the man an eye which wound him up in the local jail. Blake, having seen the whole thing, put up the fines to get him out in exchange for him signing on with the Drifters till his debt was paid off. Martin has an aggressive nature & is very much in it for #1. He’s always itching for a fight & isn’t afraid to shed blood. Many’s the time Blake’s had to tell him to leave the dynamite.”

“Wallaby Jones, hailing from the Land Down Under, he comes from a long line of poachers & bushmen. When the continent of Australia was mostly drowned in the great floods, his great grandfather caught a ship for America hoping to hunt some of the dinosaurs that had begun to roam the lands. He hired on with the Drifters when they passed through California hunting down Tom Mulligan, the man responsible for the Texarkana Christmas Eve Massacre. They passed through Shasta into mountainous terrain, knowing that Mulligan would be holed up in the mountains he offered Blake his skill with a rifle seeing as the Drifters were all pretty much gunslingers.”

“Pablo Ortega, a Mexican outlaw & former gun-runner, Pablo rides with Blake due to owing him his life. A gun deal went sour in Albuquerque with the local drug gang, the Esperanzas. They reneged on the agreement when time came to pay & gunned down his crew. Pablo ran into the desert & stumbled upon the Drifters camp. When the Esperanza enforcers found them & demanded Pablo, Blake told them to go pound sand. A vicious gunfight erupted in which two enforcers lay dead at the cost of Blake’s gunsmith. Pablo volunteered to take his place in repayment for saving his life. The situation earned Blake the enmity of the Esperanzas, making Albuquerque one more place he’s not welcome anymore.”

Fanning the Hammer

A staple of spaghetti westerns, “fanning the hammer” is a technique used to rapidly shoot a revolver. It is sometimes used in modern trick shooting competitions. It’s hard on the gun and the shooter’s hand, but looks cool. Basically you hold down the trigger of a single action revolver, then pull back the hammer with the palm of your hand. The hammer will naturally slam forward when let go and the firing pin will hit the primer of the current bullet in the chamber. Fanning the hammer back with the palm again will rotate the cylinder and prepare a new bullet. In this method shooting can be achieved as fast as the firer can crank that hammer, without having to worry about pulling the trigger.
For Dinosaur Cowboys I figured even laser six-shooters would have support for this. To that end I added a new “Fan the Hammer” special ability to the 100kW to 400kW Six-Shooters. I figured the 80kW Six-Shooter was too cheaply made to handle the rigors of constant fanning. Straight from the rulebook this ability does:

Fan the Hammer: Can only be used at Short Range or closer. Roll 6 Attacks and use 2" Knockback for the next attack, but mark with a Reload token.

This is similar to the “Both Barrels” feature of the Double Barrel Shotgun (it gives +2 Attacks and marks with Reload), except that I figured the Knockback would be from the force of that many shots. Sure you could argue that lasers wouldn’t knock a target back, but why spoil my fun? Anyways I like the Short Range requirement as well (Both Barrels can be used at max range, which is only 9″ on the Double Barrel Shotgun, but still) since it gives a feel of a duel. I also like that it gives 6 full Attacks since, you know, Six-Shooter and all. Plus since they all have 4 Attacks as a base it’s still only +2 Attacks.
Thanks goes to Red_Starrise on the DakkaDakka forums for the original spark of the idea with a “Gunslinger” Trait he had suggested to me.

Also the 400kW Six-Shooter (the most powerful Six-Shooter there is) got a slight boost. It was previously 3A-4D, but I changed it to cost more and have 4A-4D, which continues the nice and smooth progression of the Six-Shooters. Plus it makes the Six-Shooter a viable “high level” weapon. I know I wouldn’t want to walk into a 6A-4D 2″ Knockback Fan the Hammer attack at close range, ouch.

Papo Dinosaur Gallery

I thought I’d post an updated picture of my collection of Papo toys. These are super detailed and durable toys that really it well with Dinosaur Cowboys. I’ve been hoping to find some inexpensive bulk collection for herd animals and the like, but I’m never happy with the quality of others. What I think would be fun would be modeling a saddle and other features onto a few of these, at the cost of durability since then I’d have to baby them just as much as miniatures.

Full collection as of September 2011:

Detail shots:

Say cheese!

UPDATE 2014: New collection picture viewable here.

Balance vs Realism

An older post on RPGNet about The RPG/Dinosaur Paradox got me thinking: are the dinosaurs in Dinosaur Cowboys different and unique and awesome enough compared to plain human posse members? Let’s look at what differentiates a dinosaur from a cowboy:

  • Tons of HP – Even the smallest vegetarian dinosaur (Runner) has 10 HP, which is 2 more than a starting cowboy. The top is a Longneck with 35 HP. This means dinosaurs take a huge amount of punishment, and can become a focal point of the battle in a way.
  • No Equipment – I’m still considering the possibility of dinosaur specific equipment like extra saddles, armor plating, etc. but for now dinosaurs can’t buy or use any equipment.
  • No Upgrading – Besides buying more HP dinosaurs can’t be improved in any way (for good or bad) using Improvement Points.
  • Can Transport – Dinosaurs can be mounted and can carry passengers, so they act like a vehicle in that regard.
  • Allow Lassos – While mounted a character can use a Lasso weapon, like a plain Rope Lasso or something exotic like a Barbed Lasso.
  • Different Natural Weapons – Instead of punching and kicking dinosaurs can Trample and Gore as natural weapons.

Besides these points dinosaurs, at their core, are treated the same as cowboys in regards to moving and attacking.
I wanted to post today about possibly changing this. I don’t think too drastically, as split rules are always annoying (see Warhammer 40k with it’s infantry / jump infantry / motorbikes / tanks / monstrous creature mess). In this case I ask: Should dinosaurs ignore Difficult Terrain? From a thematic and realism sense the answer is yes as they’d smash through trees and charge up hills without any problem or hassles that human sized characters have. But from a balance sense it means dinosaurs are faster and can reach close combat sooner, as well as transporting human members closer to the front earlier on.
Also I might change how Dinosaurs move slightly, like perhaps they can move a random distance (instead of preset) to represent them being a bit uncontrollable. Or maybe they have a “Fear Scale” that increases as they are attacked, instead of just a blanket Bravery Test.
Anyways maybe I just need to playtest this and see how it works out. I think it’ll really vary by posse and table layout and so on, which makes it hard to come to a definite conclusion.

Posse: The Utah Water Rustlers

Today is a really special treat, as a forum poster has completed his own Posse using the v0.9 rules. But he went above and beyond doing just that, and actually ordered and painted up a slew of cowboy figures to go with his Ankylosaurus figure. The creator is cody20 from the DakkaDakka forums, and I really have to thank him for his interest in the game and dedication to assembling a terrific looking Posse!

Without further ado (since most of you recent readers are probably coming from the DakkaDakka thread in the first place :)) I give you the Utah Water Rustlers:

I guess this means I really need to get on having a similarly dashing looking force available for my battle reports, instead of the hodge podge of figures I’ve used in the past. Anyways with luck this won’t be the last we hear of from cody20, so hopefully I can post some bonus battle reports from him in the future!

Posse: Glenbrook’s Desert Triumphateers

Dear Sir Quinton Masglou,

I hope this letter finds you well, with both your health and your prosperity at hunting in the northlands. Cecilia and I are doing most excellent on the ranch, and have but a pair of months before the harvest season begins.

I write to you concerning the most important and wholesome of activities – that of the great dinosaur hunt. Although I have been entertaining myself teaching Cecilia the finer art of pistol shooting, my mind is never far from our fateful encounter when you visited last winter. I’m sure I don’t need to remind you how stormy the night was, or the sound of that terrible roar in my furthest field. I grabbed my bolt action rifle off the mantle and you slung a musket from your pack as we ran to the door. The image of that Tyrannosaurus Rex shall forever be with me.

Although a few hasty shots scared the beast away, I have often wondered from whence it came. As you know the area surrounding Perico in Texas is not known for the larger carnivores, mainly from our horrendous heat and proximity to the dead wastes. But I spent many a day and night restlessly researching local tales and alehouse yarns and I think I have finally discovered the home of the great beast.

To this end I write to implore you to visit me no later then two weeks hence. Bring your finest firearms and equipment and we shall track the Tyrannosaurs Rex to it’s lair and destroy it. I have already taken care of hiring a guide, a strong arm, and pack dinos for the road. I know your matters in the north are of the utmost importance, but if you could but rent a flapper and visit us we shall truly have a hunt worthy of years of campfire tales.

Yours in Arms,
Gordon Glenbrook

Setting up the Posse
So sets the backdrop for the big game hunters who will tackle the custom t-rex I created the other day. When creating this Posse I went for flavor and matching the figures instead of just raw power (which is why you don’t see a bunch of bazookas and burst rifles, haha).

The battle would take place riiiiiight on the edge of the super hot southern desert of the futuristic USA. I decided Gordon Glenbrook’s ranch would be around Perico, Texas, and the lair itself would be further south. The desert is too hot to travel during the day, even with the finest dinomounts, so it’d be a bit of a trudge for the crew.

My main priority was a believable group who would provide a cinematic battle. I opted for a full 5 members, which basically ate up my Neodollars just in recruitment costs. I decided instead to just buy reasonable weapons and equipment and hope they didn’t end up costing too much more than the T-Rex.

When I actually play this game I won’t have the figures pictured below (from Reaper Mini, but they looked perfect for a hunting group. One of these days I’ll get some hobby motivation beyond just writing rules and playing games and actually sit down and paint some cowboys. For now your imagination will have to do.

Now to the details of each member, plus their respective background information to help flesh out the characters:

General Notes
I did a lot of voluntary weakness for Bravery, which had two benefits. The first and most obvious is recovering some bonus IP that could be spent elsewhere. The second subtle benefit is that Fleeing from close combat doesn’t provoke a Snap Attack in v0.9, and against a T-Rex there really isn’t a downside to getting further away. I figured if a member doesn’t get one-hit killed, they will probably Flee next turn which can set up the rest of the team for better shots. I guess the downside is it might move the Fleeing person into perfect Charge range for the T-Rex, but it’s unlikely ANYONE will survive two rounds in melee with the beast.

Gordon Glenbrook
Gordon was once a Neotechnoist but found the adventurous lure of the outside world too much for him. He left the jungle when he was barely an adult, and slowly built up a fortune through trading, leading expeditions, farming, etc. He met Cecilia while driving some triceratops through Colorado, and they were married soon after. Now he’s getting older and a bit slower, and has settled down on a ranch in the one remaining hospitable part of Texas. The t-rex hunt is mainly a chance to relive some of his old glories and feel a little more useful around the ranch.

I wanted Gordon to be the toughest of the bunch, which was easy with his Duster allegiance and Leader benefits to HP. I matched the figure as best I could and opted for a Bolt Action Rifle as his primary weapon. In terms of stats I reduced his Bravery from 6 to 4 for +5 IP for the reasons I stated above. Otherwise the main improvement was RMC, from 8 to 6 for 25 IP (which was really 20 due to the bonus from reducing my Bravery). I figured Armor would be a waste against the T-Rex’s 4 MMC, but I definitely didn’t want to miss a shot. Besides the Bolt Action Rifle I gave him a basic 80kW Six-Shooter and a Small IRP. For a bit of benefit and a bunch of flavor Gordon took the “Big Game Hunter” Passive Trait.

20 IP, $170. MV 3, AR 0, RMC 6, MMC 8, BRV 4, HP 12, Big Game Hunter. Bolt Action Rifle, 80kW Six-Shooter, S-IRP

Cecilia Glenbrook
Cecilia may seem a strange match for Gordon. She was raised in a rich family near the coast, and never really knew hardship. She married Gordon at the height of his power and influence, when he was most attractive as a suitor. Now in his older years she sometimes has doubts about their suitability, especially with how taken Gordon has been with hunting. In the interest of maintaining their marriage she has started to learn to handle a gun, ride, rope, and sleep under the stars.

I went for basically the same build as Gordon for his wife. I dropped her Bravery from 6 to 4 and boosted her RMC from 8 to 6. She didn’t get a Trait, but instead I gave her the SUPER handy Stun Gun, plus a Derringer for backup and flavor. She didn’t quite match the figure (which had a shotgun), but I really like the idea of Gordon helping his wife master the Stun Gun, since it’ll be an important part of keeping the T-Rex from reaching the lines and basically rolling over the team. Anyways she ended up costing 20 IP, just like Gordon.
Plus I gave her a Medpack to try out the slower healing feature compared to an IRP.

20 IP, $225. MV 3, AR 0, RMC 6, MMC 8, BRV 4, HP 10. Stun Gun, Derringer, Medpack

Sir Quinton Masglou
Quinton is much younger than Gordon, and learned about the man while reading historical records inside the Neotechnoist compound. They eventually exchanged letters and met a few times for hunting expeditions. Quinton looks up to Gordon, but also finds him a bit stuffy (mainly because of their age gap). Gordon treats Quinton like the son he never had, and is very eager to entertain the youth and give him the best advantages in life. Quinton was exploring north of Haven and the Neotechnoist jungle, but flew all the way south for the chance to hunt a t-rex and see his old mentor, perhaps for the last time.

For Quinton I knew I couldn’t get his HP too high due to the Neotechnoist weakness, so I opted for a bit of armor instead. It made sense too since he’s a bit younger and bit more unsure of his abilities. Plus the figure just screams “Guy trying to be woodland-ish”. I went for a more barbaric weapon, the Blunderbuss, to try to keep the rustic image he’s been living up north. A Stick of Dynamite was a nice simple touch, and again felt like an “old school” weapon compared to lasers and the like.
For stats I weakened his Bravery from 6 to 4 for +5 IP again. Then I dropped his RMC from 7 to 6 for 15 IP, and finally gave him +1 AR for 10 IP, plus a suit of Padded Armor. I had a few points left over so I ended up giving him +2 HP for 12 IP, which counteracted his Neotechnoist frailty.

32 IP, $320. MV 4, AR 2, RMC 6, MMC 8, BRV 4, HP 8. Blunderbuss, Stick of Dynamite, Padded Armor

Walter Thunder
Walter has seen it all as a guide, and is very worldly as a result. He’s competent with a wide variety of weapons and is terrific at hunting, trapping, tracking, and getting out of trouble. His dashing good looks lead to a brief affair with Cecilia (of which Gordon never found out), so there is a tension between the two as a result. Gordon, blissfully unaware, considers Walter an upstanding young man, and sometimes compares his younger self to the life Walter has lead. Walter puts up with it in good humor because of the solid, steady pay Gordon offers. He feels the t-rex hunt will give him a lot of fame and further his reputation in the south.

Walter was pretty simply to make, and ended up being the least improved of my characters. I made him Bandit Allegiance to kind of simulate the knockabout life he’s lead. For guns the 400kW Six-Shooter seemed to make sense, although I still kind of like the 4-3 of the 300kW compared to 3-4 of the 400kW model. He’d take a Saber, and maybe could sneak in a desperate, heroic charge with it.
All I did for statistics was weakening his Bravery from 6 to 5 for +2 IP (he’s the bravest of the bunch from his travels, I figured), and then RMC from 8 to 7 for 10 IP.
As part of his “guide” image I gave him the Active Trait “Retreat!”, which will let him grant an additional +4″ of Movement to an ally within 8″. I figured this would help him get someone out of trouble a bit, and maybe he can charge in afterwards to cover their escape.

8 IP, $160. MV 4, AR 0, RMC 7, MMC 8, BRV 5, HP 8, Retreat! 400kW Six Shooter, Saber

Allen is the strong silent type, and has acted as a bodyguard for Gordon in the past. Early in Gordon and Cecilia’s marriage a rival rancher tried to use violence and intimidation to get Gordon to give up some land in the west. Allen cleaned up the problem quickly and quietly, and Cecilia was never the wiser that her husband had hired such a mercenary. Allen does not have the best attitude or morals, but he is extremely competent and a legend in a duel. Gordon has kept in contact through the years for certain difficult situations where a rough hand might be needed. Allen has a strong, yet unspoken sense of loyalty to Gordon which is his main motivation for coming on the hunt.

Finally I had Allen. He’d rock dual pistols, that much I knew. I went for a Handcannon and a Snub Pistol, so a bit of modern tech mixed with old. I made him a Duster since he seemed more like a roaming desert wanderer than a real Bandit, although I think either would have worked. I wanted him to hit a bunch so I boosted his RMC from 8 to 6. Then the usual Bravery drop from 6 to 4. To top off his equipment I gave him Cloth Armor and Tangle Grenades. Those grenades, which apply Stopped on hit, could be a real game changer. With that in mind I actually gave him the Active Trait “Speed Reload” with the intent of throwing a grenade, free reloading, and throwing another, which would keep the T-Rex locked down for 2 whole turns. Plus of everyone he seemed the most likely to fight slightly dirty like that, and also to come overly prepared.

20 IP, $510. MV 3, AR 1, RMC 6, MMC 8, BRV 4, HP 10, Speed Reload. Handcannon, Snub Pistol, Tangle Grenades, Cloth Armor

Final Words
The last step was to name the Posse. I went for “Glenbrook’s Desert Triumphateers” because it had a fun, slightly goofy ring to it, just like most of the members (who are kind of in over their heads). With luck this expedition will be successful for the gang, and won’t just be a giant three turn buffet for the T-Rex.

All in all the Posse came out at exactly 100 IP. Due to recruiting costs of $800 I ended up waaaaaaaay overbudget. The equipment ended up being $1385, so yeah, $2185 in total. I think it’s fine though since I didn’t buy any really crazy weapons, and mostly just went for theme so it should be balanced with the T-Rex.

Anyways I’ll be playing this game through tomorrow afternoon, so expect a battle report sometime next week!

The Great T-Rex Hunt

I think I had mentioned in the past that I wanted to do a custom type of Dinosaur Cowboys game where a group of big game hunters battle a single Tyrannosaurus Rex. Well I recently bought the Papo T-Rex toy, which looks awesome:

And then I mocked up some stats for him that are equal to a new Posse, that is $1,000 and 100 IP. Now I just need to make a themed hunting Posse to take him on. I’m thinking some old British style hunter like those that went to Africa on expeditions. Then maybe his loyal friend, his wife, and two porters or guards. A classical mix of shotguns and so forth would be perfect.

As for the T-Rex here is how I built him. The original stats are:

MV: 5
AR: 2
MMC: 5
BRV: 7
HP: 24
A-D: 1-7
Cost: $500

The first thing I did to make him truly deadly was boost his weapon, for free. This was mostly a balance issue and also a fun issue, since I wanted an attack heavy roll instead of one focused on damage. So instead of 1-7 I made him 10-1. I figured this would balance with him being a single target and not having Leadership benefits. Plus it should be a BLAST to roll!

Then I started to make purchases. I opted for survivability and mobility as two priorities. I spent 10 IP to boost his AR from 2 to 3, which was a pretty obvious choice. I spent another 12 IP for +2 HP, and my remaining $500 for +10 HP for a total of 36 HP! Since his HP was so high I didn’t expect he’d ever need a Bravery Test, so I opted to voluntarily weaken his Bravery down to 3, which gave me +9 IP. Then came the big spenders, first MMC from 5 to 4 for 33 IP, just to ensure he never missed. Finally mobility which I achieved by spending 54 IP (wow!) to boost his MV from 5 to 8.

Next were his Traits. Normally a Posse gets 3 Traits, which is handy since that’s the maximum a single entity can have. So I needed to allocate 3 Traits to my T-Rex, which was a real treat. I wanted some hard hitters but some passive stat boosters would be nice too. For Passive I considered Bonus HP (always helps!), Charger (would hate to fall short), Runner (he’ll be using the Run action basically every turn he’s not in close combat), or Climber (ignoring terrain would really help his speed overall). There are a ton of Active options, like Clean Shot (pretty much guaranteed enemies won’t have previous damage when I hit them), Go For the Eyes (a classic, and with 10-1 guaranteed to help), Inspiring Shot (his only real way to heal), Lucky (could help against a brutal enemy shot), Rush (would help get to close combat, and then Slowed doesn’t matter since he’d be fighting), Shake it Off (helpful since here will likely be Slowed from Stun Guns or grenades), Try Again (re-rolling 10-1 would be sweet), Turtle (would be great when in combat already), and finally Whirlwind (if I could ever catch two enemies together).
So out of everything I opted for Runner, Inspiring Shot, and Turtle. This means he can move 8″+5″ Run, so 13″ arc. He’ll get 7 HP back after a kill one time. And finally he can boost his AR to 6 for a turn at the cost of being Stopped. Anyways that was definitely the toughest choice of the build.

His final stats were:

MV: 8
AR: 3
MMC: 4
BRV: 3
HP: 36
A-D: 10-1
Traits: Runner, Inspiring Shot, Turtle
Cost: $1,000, 100 IP

So yeah, against a new Posse he should be quite the menace. The downside is he’s likely to get shot all the time without Cover since he’s so big, but AR 3 against starting RMCs (normally 6 to 8 or so) should help a ton.
And I just wanted to say that at this rate of Papo dinosaur toy purchases I’m well on my way to being like this avid collector.

I’m hoping to write up the hunting expedition Posse tonight and then play the game sometime this weekend, so expect a battle report soon after!