Dust Devils is a story-telling game set in the rugged old West. In Dust Devils, players explore these characters of the West, real and medical-site.info /av_novels/medical-site.info The game won Indie RPG Game of the Year. Watermarked PDF. $ $ 1 2 3 4 5. Average Rating (8 ratings). "Shoot or give up the gun." Dust Devils, the Indie RPG Game of the. Publisher: Chimera Creative. Dust Devils Stories in the Old West. Shoot or give up the gun. Dust Devils, the Indie RPG Game of the Year , is back with a.

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Capsule Review: Dust Devils (PDF Edition) by Matt Snyder Cover Art by Jon Hodgson; Interior Art by Rod Anderson Published by Chimera. Download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd Dust Devils asks, "Can a no- good son of a bitch make right with his ugly, evil past and Motu Rpg Oops. Dust Devils is an independently published role-playing game set in the Old West, written by Matt Snyder. It was voted the Indie RPG of the Year; it also won the Best Synergy of Create a book · Download as PDF · Printable version.

Players portray gunslingers, gam- blers, cowboys and outlaws who survive in a rugged land, and conquer their own Devils, the dark secrets that keep them from being honest decent folk. Dust Devils asks, "Can a no-good son of a bitch make right with his ugly, evil past and be a man the God-fearin people of the West respect and admire? Or, will the Devil get the best of him, and everyone dis- covers that hes a cheat, a liar or a no-good killer? Or, as we might say nowadays, Can a person reform his dark past and become a hero, or will that past haunt his actions until death? Or, perhaps simpler, What does it take to be a hero in a lawless place where its hard to just stay alive? Or, simplest of all, Can a person change? Dust Devils is a game in the tradition of films. The Outlaw Josey Wales and Unforgiven are two examples. In the former, Josey Walesplayed by Clint Eastwoodis a real son of a bitch; yet hes a hero. He doesnt reform his killin ways. He makes use of em right up to the end of the film, at which point we know Josey Wales may be one helluva gunfighter, but he aint the outlaw he used to be.

Or just plain ol lose some blood! All kinds of results are possible as characters deal with conflict. But, remember that conflict need not be physical confrontation. Conflict could be a test of a characters Cheatin Knack as he gambles. It could be social interaction like bar- tering for horses.

Or, indeed, conflict could be out-and-out brawling and gunfighting. All conflicts could result in Difficulty, which diminishes the losers attributes when characters fail to win the Deal. Conflict might be as simple and direct as a horse race across a dusty gulch, or as complex and subtle as negotiation for peace with Indian elders this negotiation could occur over a series of individual conflicts and several Deals. Either way, the Deal determines the winners and losers of a single conflict, and each hand specifies how much Difficulty losers receive as well as which player will narrate how the conflict plays out.

Still, the Dealer should introduce conflicts to stir the pot and keep things interesting. These conflicts could be any challenge for the characters ranging from subtle social provocations over a game of cards to a full- fledged gun battle in the town streets.

Ideally, the Dealer should introduce conflicts as a challenging conse- quence of decisions made by the player characters. Similarly, the conflicts should provoke at least one char- acters Devil. Conflicts that do both work best of all!

The Dealer then deals a number of playing cards from a U. Success for the players hinges on beating the Dealer at his game. The highest Poker hand in a conflict is the winner, and progressively better poker hands indicate increasingly extraordinary success. Losers may or may not succeed in their goal; this is up to the narrator of the scene. The number of cards dealt depends on the conflict. With the Dealers approval, each player receives a number of cards in the deal equal to his two most relevant or most interesting attributes for the situation.

Players should size up the conflict situation and determine which two attributes work best for their charac- ter, or perhaps which pair might make the scene most entertaining.

Its down right common for a single character to have three or even four relevant attributes for a given conflict. Players might easily imagine how Hand, Eye, and Guts apply in a gunfight, for example. However, only two are allowed for the Deal.

Five Card Stud For conflicts in which the Dealer does not control or involve an important non-player character i. This means the Dealer gives himself five cards to challenge the players various hands.

The single five card stud hand may represent any game conflictfrom a rampaging, driverless stagecoach to a pack of thugs in a bar room brawl. Heres an example: While running from a posse after making a big score on a train heist, Black Jack Kerrigan and Luke Johnson are trapped in a clever ambush.

They have a choice in this chal- lengeface the posse hot on their trail or leave their horses and jump off a cliff into a raging stream below. Quite a conflict. The Dealer deals cards, giving himself five cards because none of the posse members is a significant character.

Should the Dealer have the high hand, the narration might indicate the posse surrounds and captures Black Jack and Luke. Alternatively, the narrator might let Black Jack and Luke make their daring leap only to be injured in the fall. However, if one or more of the characters wins, the fugitive pair safely leap into the stream and swim to their next escapade.

For relatively minor conflicts, the Dealer may simply deal himself a Three Card Stud hand. Minor conflicts are less difficult or have only slight consequences.

Stakes should not be rewarded for such minor conflicts. The Dealer should consider whether such small conflicts are worth a Deal; it sometimes is better to simply resolve the conflict through colorful narration and move on. The Dealer decides getting folks to talk about the financially important event isnt difficult, but the locals might be suspicious of a bank robbery in the making quite rightly! So, he deals himself three cards. Should his meager hand win, the consequences are slight.

The locals might be a bit suspicious or less friendly. But, if Black Jack, Luke and McCreedy overcome the Three Card Stud hand, they dont really deserve any greater reward than the information they coax from the saloon patrons. On the other hand, for exceptionally hazardous conflicts, the dealer may take a Seven Card Stud hand, deal- ing himself seven cards with no option to discard and redraw without awarding chips to each player.

For over- coming such difficult conflicts, the Dealer should usually reward the players with Stakes of at least one Chip.

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For example, if our trio of outlaws scouting out the bank in the previous example find out that the payroll arrived that same damn morning, which is why everyones at the saloon drinking Kentucky joy juice before noon, theyve got a dilemma. They need the money to post bail for their jailed partner Zeke Munroe back in Last Oak, so they decide to waltz across the street and nab the cash now! They dont have a plan, they have no idea who or what might be at the bank, and they dont have an escape route planned.

This is going to be tough. The only thing in their favor, the Dealer notes to himself, is that no one of consequence guards the money.


But, the new model locked vault, the teller with a loaded pepperbox, and the nearby sheriffs office is enough to warrant a seven- card hand for the dealer. Its also, the Dealer decides, enough of a mess to warrant two chips for the crazy bastards should they pull it off! For each Deal, a player can discard up to a number of cards equal to one of his characters relevant Knack ratings.

The player may choose to discard any number or combination of cards, so long as he does not exceed the limit dictated by his Knack rating.

The Dealer then deals to the player an equal number of new cards from the deck. Players are welcome to use their characters Knacks creatively during conflicts. For example, the Rustlin Knack may not seem like much use during a shoot out, but Reggie Spencer might effectively knock down a stockyard fence and cause a stampede to save his skin from crack shot bounty hunters.

The Dealer has authority to decide whether an unusual use of a Knack like this is permissible in a given Deal. A player may have several cards in his hand as many as 7 or 8 or more , but he can lay only up to five cards. Players ignore excess cards; only the five cards a character lays at Call count toward resolving a conflict. Players with fewer than five cards in their hand simply lay all the cards in their hand, all of which count toward resolving the conflict.

Note: Just as in Poker, without a pair or better in any players hand, high card wins. Also, Jokers are as Wild Cards. Players should consider carefully which five cards to lay. Players should seek to win the conflict, by choosing the best poker combination possible.

In rare extraordinary handsespecially a Full House or any kind of Strait or Flushthe player should consider whether to include a high card or maintain the five-card combination. For example, the sharp-witted Black Jack Kerrigan has managed to get himself and all his com- padres in an ugly shootout.

After the Dealer dealt him 3, 3, 7, 7, 9, Q in the initial Deal, he used his characters Shootin Knack to draw back an additional two cards. He discarded the 9 and Q, and redrew the 3 and K. Now Black Jack has a Full House! But, if he lays the full house for this conflict, he likely wont have high card for control of narration, which might be important for helping out his buddies. Hes got to choose between laying the Full House or laying Two Pair still a good hand and having that K for a good shot at high card.

Sometimes, however, conflict begets conflicts. This happens most often in a fight as characters keep risking it all to be the last man standing. When the Dealer calls, everyone resolves his goals and any Difficulty inflicted, the narrator describes the outcome, and the conflict is over. Should players or the Dealer wish to continue the conflict, the Dealer shuffles the deck and deals a fresh hand to continue the conflict. Technically, any subsequent hands are new conflicts and the narrator should consider this , but the type of conflict may be precisely the same as the first like a shootout, for example.

As an optional rule, the Dealer may allow the winner or winners of the previ- ous conflict to receive an extra card in the deal for conflicts that follow immediately in this way. A player must declare Fold before the Dealer Calls. Doing so likely means the issue will remain unresolved, and the situation will rear its ugly head again in the future. In every conflict situation i. This means only cards that are part of the five cards players lay down count toward determining high card.

Ignore all other cards. In many cases, the player with the highest winning hand will lay the high card. However, even the lowest ranking hand can the yield the high cardthe A, for example.

The winner of a hand succeeds in his declared goal, and the narrator describes just how his goal is ful- filled. The loser of a conflict may or may not have succeeded in his goal.

It is the narrators choice to deter- mine this. The narrator should take into account not only who wins and loses the conflict, but also how they won or lost.

New edition? Did their website disappear? | Dust Devils Revenged | BoardGameGeek

This should color his description. Extraordinary handslike a Full House Three of a Kind coupled with Two of a Kind indicate dramatic and exceptional events, while winning a hand with just a single high card indicates a relatively mundane or routine success for the character.

Being the narrator has distinct advantages. The player who narrates gets exclusive rights to describe reso- lution of the single conflict at hand. While his authority is shorter lived than a Texas tornado, the player can really stir things up at critical moments. Often, the player will narrate that future conflicts and scenes play right into his hands.

This tremendous power is flexible, too. This is the reward players can earn should their character win the important challenge. The Dealer offers rewards as Chips; players are encouraged to use actual poker chips to represent these. The Dealer generally sets Stakes at one Chip, but he may offer two or three Chips for especially important moments in game play. The Dealer should offer Stakes for any conflict situation that he thinks will be a dramatic turning point in the game.

For example, if the players finally get into a shootout with the notorious outlaw they chased from St. Louis to Santa Fe, the Dealer should offer Stakes. Such dramatic moments may also be more sponta- neous. For example, a player could show a love interest in a heretofore unimportant dancehall girl. Though the Dealer didnt expect it, he should react accordingly and offer Stakes when the character tries to sweet talk his newfound darling into following him to California.

The Dealer also should expand the dancers background and create a suitable Devil for her. He may not introduce her troubled life until a later game session, but shell be well defined for future conflicts. Also, the Dealer should offer Stakes any time a character deals with his Devil in a substantive way. For example, a character whose devil is massacred an Indian village could earn stakes when he deals with that history positivelyperhaps by successfully befriending an Apache scout, even though the Heart-based chal- lenge would be difficult due to fewer cards drawn as a result of his Devil.

Simple as that. Conflicts are dangerous that way. They have a way of whittling a poor soul down until the only thing hes got left is to make a deal with the Devil. When a character loses a conflict, he subtracts a number of attribute points equal to the number of cards in the Poker combination that beat him. The player subtracts the points as desired from the attributes relat- ed to the suits played in the winning Poker combination.

An example: Lucky Luke Johnson isnt living up to his name.

A rival gunslinger shoots at him in a conflict, playing three of a kind in the hand to do it: 5, 5,and 5. Lukes player subtracts the three points of damage as he sees fit. He can subtract 3 from a single attribute, or subtract 1 point from all three attributes if he chooses.

When Jokers constitute part of a hand, subtract damage only from the suits played in other cards. Its important to remember that while a character loses attributes, the Difficulty inflicted may or may not be actual physical harm.

Its up to the describing character to explain the injury or reason for attribute loss. For example, if Lukes player decided to subtract one point from each attribute hit in the exam- ple above, the narrator of that scene might say the gunslingers wild shot grazed Lukes forehead.

The blood trickling into his eyes explains him losing a point of Eye. Getting shot at makes him reluctant to fight on, which explains the loss of Guts, and the ugly, though not down right perni- cious, wound makes him a gruesome sight to everyone, hence the loss of Heart. He may look a bit worse for the wear, but maybe Luke is lucky after allthe wound could be a lot worse.

Alternatively, the same hand could be described a bit more comically: The narrating player says the gun- slingers wild shot knocks down a chandelier that falls on poor Lukes head.

The loss of a point in his three attributes is a reflection of his being a bit dazed by the event loss of Eye and Guts , not to mention more than a little embarrassed loss of Heart. Recovery Characters recover all damage to attributes at the end of each game session. The Dealer may rule that damage carries over into the next session if he thinks events are unfinished or so closely tied that characters have little chance for rest and recovery.

Thus it's not a "game within a game. It's a beautiful example of Fortune in the middle, in many different ways. I strongly recommend that people who play the game understand that the narrator has tremendous power, in terms of deciding whether to consider the content of the losing hand.

In one scene during our game, the losing hand was used as damage just as the winning hand was; in another, the losing hand although it was a gunshot as well was ignored.

I submit that this power be maintained and reinforced in the rules, rather than specified in any way. System Recommendations All of the following issues have arisen during play in our group, and I'm including our recommendations for dealing with them. We used two decks, one collectively for the players and one for the GM. Actually, it probably doesn't matter if the group all shares one deck during a single conflict - that solves the issue of ties, anyway. More importantly, though, the text should be very clear that draws are made for a single given conflict, such that all hands are reshuffled back into the deck s to await further conflict.

The text is a bit ambiguous about how many cards, out of those drawn, are used for resolution. Some discussion with the author clarifies that one shows five cards for resolution, out of however many are drawn.

This leads to a second issue: since the narrator of the conflict and its resolution is the holder of the highest card, is the highest card taken from the five cards being shown, or from any of the cards in the entire hand? We strongly, strongly recommend that the highest card which determines narration rights should be in those five cards being shown. This puts a person into a very powerful decision situation - on a occasion, he or she would then have to give up a strong hand for resolution say with a low-card Straight in order to use a high card for narration.

Again, all of us agreed that this rule would not be a bug but a very useul feature. Folding needs to be in there as some sort of play tactic to cancel the conflict without resolving it - sort of a delay, or "not today" plot element. Not only is it "poker" in mechanics terms, but it also presents an avenue of conflict resolution that can keep characters alive and permit very refined pacing for the scenario using players' input.

The GM's default draw should be 5 card stud. Penalties should drop characters to 5 card stud, with leftover penalties removing redraws ie cancelling Knacks rather than reducing the draw. When chips are spent to cancel damage, I think it should work differently from the way it does in most games.

In most games, it would be like this: say I take 5 hits, and I have 2 left, with two points of armor - this means that I end up dead, with -1 in mathematical terms. Note that the Dust Devils text does not explicitly hold to the traditional mode, but that I think most role-players will treat that as the default - using chips like "armor," so that if you take 3 more than you have points for, you'd need three chips to cancel it.

I suggest instead that the concept of "negatives" be explicitly disavowed in the rules. If that's done, then one chip is always good enough to keep you from dying, per attribute reduced to zero. Finally, the existing game text badly needs guidelines and standards for scenario preparation and resolution, but both of these are addressed later, after I The Devil I love the Devil in this game, although that's not surprising. It's very Sorcerer - kind of a combined Kicker, demon, and Humanity all in one.

It's whatever behavior makes the character, on occasion, a bad person. It is used as a bonus for drawing cards, depending on the situation. We used the variant that I suggested in the forums of setting the Devil quantitatively, from one to three cards, at the beginning of each session.

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This worked very well, and it was especially important for the final session as players had to think about how "driven" their characters were for the fast-tightening circumstances that would demand extreme decisions and actions. The Devil is flatly the key to play. A scenario by definition offers the options, "Shoot, or give up the gun. Such a villain or mystery is valuable only as a path into the Premise. The beauty is that every character with a Devil is, basically, unpredictable.

One of the players stated that this mode of play is tremendously tense and satisfying, as any character will suddenly flash into an action or decision based on his or her Devil rather than the face usually presented to the world. The game never forces a player to do this, yet the effect is somehow to create a fierce, unpredictable result from character to character.

The scenario turns into a matter of crisscrossing vectors of actions, especially if one or two NPCs have Devils of their own. Thus a terrifying web develops, not so much of intrigue as of response. From a player perspective, there is no real point to "safe" play. One needs to be moving, for better or ill, and to be willing to put one's character into hot water.

Character creation needs to reflect that a bit, perhaps in-play using flashback method I planned to do this in our group but totally forgot.

One player had a very hard time by trying to play a reasonable, stable sort of guy who approached everything decently; we're still discussing this issue relative to Dust Devils play and character creation on the Forge forums. The major issues of GMing and play Scenarios for Dust Devils rely strictly on raising issues, not on presenting a series of cool or otherwise-planned scenes.

GM techniques for such play remain largely unarticulated in RPG culture. Dust Devils requires such text, in detail, because without it, the game frankly falls apart into either staging gunfights or endless wandering "what do we do?

Two types of setting questions play a big role in preparation. I shudder to consider playing Dust Devils without some thought and discussion among the group about both of these.