The West – Part II

Hey, all, ūüôā

This is where I continue my previous post with some more general stuff and all the open stuff.

A Note on Sources

The West is a Solar System game, and Solar System is based off of The Shadow of Yesterday. As such, if it seems that many, most, or even all¬†of the Abilities, Secrets and Keys look familiar, frankly, that’s because they are. ūüôā

New Rule – Negative Effetcs

Negative Effects are an expansion of the Solar System Effects rule. Characters that know certain Secrets gain the ability to impose Negative Effects on other people. Negative Effects are created via an Ability roll and their value is the result of that roll. Once created, Negative Effects must be paid for with a point from an associated Pool. Negative Effects go away when that Pool refreshes, unless they are paid for again.

Whenever a character under a negative Effect enters into a conflict where that Effect would apply, the character’s opponent may call on that Effect and impose one penalty die. The value of the Effect goes down by one. Alternatively, for Negative Effects valued at 4 or higher, the opponent may elect to expend the whole of the effect and impose two penalty dice.

For unopposed rolls, the option to impose penalty dice goes to the creator of the Effect.

Equipment Rules

The West uses the default Solar System equipment ratings, as described in page 62, and it uses the variant Declared Equipment rules, as described in sidebar on the same page. 


The West uses the default Solar System pools: Vigor (V), Instinct (I) and Reason (R).

Open Abilities

Passive Abilities:

Endure (V) – the capability for enduring physical pain and fatigue, whether caused by climate, injury or great exertion.

React (I) – the ability to think and act quickly and clearly, as useful for seizing initiative as for noticing hidden things.

Resist (R) – strength of will and resolve in the face of adversity, stress or social pressure alike.

Active Abilities:

Athletics (V) – raw phisicality and fitness, used for running, jumping, swimming or climbing.

Brawling (V) – untrained fighting, with fists, feet, daggers, butcher knives, table legs, and all sorts of clubbery.

Hard Work (V) – exerting strength over long periods of time, for a specific purpose, like building a fence or mending a wagon.

Intimidate (V) – instiling respect towards or outright fear of oneself into other people, for the purpose of influencing them.

Riding (V) – the use of horses as a means of transport, racing, pursuit or escape.

Animal Ken (I) – the ability to intimidate, befriend or otherwise influence an animal, whether wild or domestic.

Artistic (I) – a catch-all for artistic endeavours of all sorts, whether creative or performing.

Firearms (I) – the use of pistols and rifles for any purpose, as long as it involves actual shooting.

Haggling (I) – getting the best price for goods or services.

Savoir-Faire (I) – acting smooth and friendly, to get a kiss from a lady, get another character into your bed, or just befriend someone.

Stealth (I) – sneaking up on people, hiding from other characters, or generally moving about without being noticed.

Deceit (R) – fooling other people, including pretending to be someone else, forging documents, straight-out lying well, and cheating.

Networking (R) – the ability to find, meet and connect with people you don’t know yet.

Orate (R) – capturing the attention and swaying the opinion of crowds, through speech or demagoguery.

Search (R) – the ability to find hidden or non-obvious things, through directed, purposeful, systematic action.

Survival (R) – finding food and shelter in the wild, surviving nature’s dangers, or using the untamed land’s features to one’s advantage.

Sway (R) – the use of logical reasoning to convince someone of something or spur them to action.

Open Secrets

Avoidance (ability) – The character knows how to pre-empt others from using a specific ability agasint them. This Secret can be activated after an opponent rolls the ability in question, but not after the character rolls anything in opposition. Use during Extended Resolution requires a successful action to avoid, checking the Ability in question, and causes the conflict to end without resolution.
Cost: 2 Pool associated with the Ability.

Bodhisattva – The character refuses to let go, preferring to continue in the campaign. When the character makes a Transcendent (7) level success with an Ability check, the player may opt to roll additional penalty dice into the check before accepting the result.
Cost: 1st level Harm per penalty die.
Requirement: at least one Grand Master (4) Ability.

Contacts – The character knows plenty of people all around. The player may introduce a new secondary character with a short phrase or claim a character just introduced by the Story Guide as a contact.
Cost: 3 Pool, type and mix depending on the nature of the relationship. Vigor for ol’ buddies, Instinct for former lovers, Reason for mentors and so on.

Equipment (equipment) РThe character possesses a piece of equipment with one rating. This Secret can be purchased multiple times, for multiple pieces of equipment or for multiple ratings for the same equipment. Should the character permanently lose access to any of the equipment, the corresponding Advances should be fully refunded.

Equipment Use (ability) – The character is skilled at making use of available tools. When the character uses equipment Declared by the Story Guide as rated, the player may add higher rating values related to the declared rating, for this character only. The ratings need to be useable with the chosen Ability and have to be specializations of the declared rating. Created ratings last for the scene.
Cost: 1 related pool for a +2 rating, 3 for a +3.

Inner Meaning – The character’s art carries a meaning beyond the surface. The character can use Artistic (I) to create Effects. These Effects are only useable to complement or replace any non-physical Instinct-based ability.
Cost: 1 Reason + cost of Effect.

Language (language) – The character knows how to speak a language other than English. Everyone can speak English. A list of all available languages in the fictional American west is beyond the scope of his work, but French, Spanish, Chinese and Apache immediately come to mind.

Leadership – The character knows how to inspire others. The character can give a bonus die to any other character in the scene. This Secret can only be activated once per Ability check.
Cost: 1 Pool associated with the Ability being checked.

Literacy (language) – The character knows how to read and write a language. Most characters are illiterate. It is perfectly acceptable for a character to know how to read and write a language they can’t actually speak.

Parlay – The character is adept at defusing conflict situations and can convert any violent conflict into a social one. The character’s opponent is forced to either leave the conflict unresolved or use a social Ability associated with the Pool used to activate the Secret: Intimidate for Vigor, Savoir-Faire for Instinct, Sway for Reason, or an equivalent cultural Ability.
Cost: 3 of any one Pool.

Shattering (ability) – The character is especially skilled in destroying Effects that might be affected by the chosen Ability. Any level of success destroys the whole Effect, and the player may split excess sucess levels against several Effects, as the situation allows.
Cost: 2 Pool related to the Ability per affected Effect.

Sidekick – The character has a sidekick. This sidekick should be a Story Guide character, not a protagonist. The SG should create full statistics for the sidekick. The sidekick should not have any Ability rated higher than the character, should not have any Secrets the protagonist doesn’t have, and gets the Key of Aide but can have no other keys until they buy that one off.

Skirmish (ability) – The character is adept at engaging multiple opponents. While the character is using the chosen ability, opposing check results are compared against the character’s result separately, rather than in a support chain. In Extended Resolution, the character can pay Pool to target several appropriate opponents with the Ability, even when the situation wouldn’t normally warrant it.
Cost: 2 associated Pool for normal conflicts, 1 por extra opponent in extended.

Specialization (ability, circumstance) – The character is especially good at using the chosen Ability when under the specified circumstance. The character gets a free bonus die when rolling the ability under the specific circumstance.

Surprise (pool) – The character is adept at disorienting his opponents in the physical, social or intellectual arena. In conflict, the character can force opponents to use the corresponding passive ability, rather than carry out their intended actions. This works in both normal conflicts and Extended Resolution.
Cost: 1 of the chosen Pool.

Survivalism (pool) – The character tends to be prepared, at least in one area of life. When refreshing the chosen Pool, the character may make a check with the corresponding passive Ability to set off the pool costs or retaining any Effects associated with the Pool, one Effect per level of success.

Synergy (ability, ability) – The character has learned to combine two Abilities seamlessly in situations that use both. In Extended Reslution, the player may use either Ability to support the other without using an extra action. In normal conflict, the character can roll both Abilities and choose which result supports the other, regardless of the particular details of the situation.

Training (abiliy) – The character has been formally schooled in the use of the chosen Ability. The character is not limited to one bonus die from Pool points when making an Ability check.

Unwalked Path – The character’s footfalls leave little trace for others to follow. Opponents without the Tracking (I) Indian cultural Ability have no chance of tracking the character, and the character can use Survival (R) to resist uses of Tracking (I).
Cost: 1 Instinct.

Wrestling (pool) – The character knows how to force an issue in a given arena. When a check with an Ability associated with the chosen Pool ties an opponent, in normal conflict or Extended Resolution, the player may opt to enter into a Pool bid with the opponent, each using the Pool associated with the Ability they were checking. In the bid, each participant pays a Pool point until one of them cannot or will not pay. The winner of the bid is considered to have won the check by a margin of one.

Open Keys

Addiction (substance) – The character is addicted to a particular substance.
1xp: The addiction comes up or the character uses the substance.
2xp: The character suffers actual penalties because of being under the influence or being in withdrawal.
5xp: The character puts themselves at risk to procure more of the substance.
Buyoff: Kick the habit.

Aide (protagonist) – The character is a sidekick to a protagonist.
1xp: The character follows the protagonist’s instructions.
2xp: The character suffers for being in service.
5xp: The character saves the protagonist from a tight spot.
Buyoff: Leave service.
Special: This key is meant for Story Guide characters. Protagonists should not take this key.

Cause (cause) –¬†The character is commited to a specific cause or ideology.
1xp: The character attempts to further the cause.
2xp: The character succeeds in furthering the cause or convinces another character to take up the cause.
5xp: The character achieves a major breakthrough for the cause.
Buyoff: Leave the cause, by abandoning it or completing its goals.

Conscience – The character knows right from wrong and might some times even act on it.
1xp: The character helps the weak or the needy.
3xp: The character saves a life put in danger by someone else’s wrong doings.
Buyoff: Ignore a request for help.

Coward – Your character avoids physical confrontation like the plague.
1xp: The character avoids a potential dangerous confrontation.
3xp: The character stops a physical confrontation by means other than violence.
Buyoff: Leap into combat without hesitation.

Criminal –¬†The character is a hardened criminal.
1xp: The character commits a crime.
3xp: The character comes into danger while or because of committing a crime.
Buyoff: Make restitution for crimes committed.

Cripple (handicap) – The character has a significant handicap or some other drastic disadvantage.
1xp: The character incurs social difficulties because of the handicap.
2xp: The character suffers actual penalties because of the handicap.
5xp: The character fails in an important situation because of the handicap.
Buyoff: Overcome the condition, by acceptance and adaptation or actual cure.

Dark Secret –¬†The character has a mysterious past with terrible secrets.
1xp: The past comes up, somehow.
2xp: Clues to the secret are revealed.
5xp:¬†The past endangers¬†the character’s¬†present.
Buyoff: Confide the story to another.

Despair –¬†The character has lost¬†all hope and gone nigh insane about it.
1xp: The character tries to convince others to stop their futile struggle.
3xp: The character gives up on an important struggle.
Buyoff: Find the courage to hope again.

Family – The charater’s family is an important and ever-present condition.
1xp: The character interacts with someone in their family.
2xp: The character has a conflict with someone in their family.
5xp: The character puts themselves at risk or sacrifices for their family.
Buyoff: Abandon the family and sever all ties.

Fighting –¬†The character is all about the bloodlust.
1xp: Attack someone.
3xp: Win a fight.
Buyoff: Refuse a fight.

Fraternity (person) – The character has someone that is more important to them than anyone else.
1xp: The character interacts with this person.
2xp:¬†The character¬†makes a decision that affects this person or¬†is influenced by this person’s words or actions.
5xp: The character puts themselves at risk or sacrifices for this person.
Buyoff: Sever the relationship with this person.

Guardian (person) РThe character has a ward, someone who depends on them for security and protection.
1xp: The character interacts with the ward.
2xp:¬†The character¬†makes a decision that affects¬†the ward or¬†is influenced by¬†the ward’s words or actions.
5xp: The character puts themselves at risk for the ward.
Buyoff: Sever the relationship with the ward.

Impostor –¬†The character thrives on deceit and falsehood, and some times, their entire life is a lie.
1xp:¬†The character¬†passes themselves off as someone or something they’re not.
2xp: The character convinces others in spite of serious skepticism.
5xp:¬†The character’s¬†story survives a deliberate, focused, “Hey, everybody, look!” attempt to reveal¬†their identity.
Buyoff: Confess the imposture to those duped.

Living on the Edge – Your character has a self-destructive lifestyle.
1xp: The character acts in an irresponsible manner.
2xp: Other characters express concern for¬†the character’s¬†lifestyle.
5xp: The character gets hurt because of their own actions.
Buyoff: Commit to a responsibility.

Masochist –¬†The character thrives on personal pain and suffering.
1xp: The character is bloodied.
3xp: The character is broken.
Buyoff: Flee a source of damage.

Pacifist –¬†The character is commited to non-violence, out of fear or principle.
1xp: The character advocates a peaceful solution to a violent problem.
2xp: The character solves a violent situation without resorting to violence.
5xp: The character suffers from refusing to use violence.
Buyoff: Resort to deliberate violence.

Quest (quest) –¬†The character is commited to a specific quest or mission.
1xp: The character attempts to progress in their quest.
2xp: The character succeeds in progressing in their quest.
5xp: The character achieves a major turning point in their quest.
Buyoff: Leave the quest, by abandoning it or completing it.

Renown –¬†The character lives and breathes to become well known. “You are the worst assassin I have ever head of.” “But you have heard of me!”
1xp: The character sees to it that their name and deeds are known.
2xp: The character puts themselves at risk to do something unnecessary or foolish that will add to their reputation.
5xp: The character risks their life to take credit for their actions.
Buyoff: Give someone else credit for an action that would increase reknown.

Romance (person) – The character is involved in romance with another person.
1xp: The character flirts with the romantic interest.
2xp: The character interacts positively with the romantic interest, ranging from going on a date to rescue from a death trap.
5xp: The relationship develops to a new level.
Buyoff: Break off the romantic relationship.

Sidekick (person) –¬†The character has a sidekick, someone who’s life is all about helping¬†them out.
1xp: The character gives instructions to the sidekick.
2xp:¬†The character¬†succeeds in something with¬†the sidekick’s help.
5xp: The character puts themselves at risk or sacrifices for the sidekick.
Buyoff: Grant independence to the sidekick or sever the relationship with the sidekick.
Special: Characters should have Secret of Sidekick before buying this key.

Unrequited Love (person) –¬†The character has a love for someone who does not return this love.
1xp: The character interacts with this person.
2xp:¬†The character¬†attempts to gain this person’s affections.
5xp:¬†The character puts themselves¬†in harm’s way or sacrifices for this person.
Buyoff: Abandon the pursuit of this person or win their love.

Vengeance (person, group, culture) –¬†The character has a hatred for a particular person, group or culture.
1xp: The character hurts a member of the group or culture or a lackey of that person.
2xp: The character strikes a minor blow at that group or person, such as killing a member or a lackey, destroying their property or disrupting their life.
5xp: The character strikes a major blow at that person, group or culture.
Buyoff: Let the enemy go.

Vow (vow) –¬†The character has made a vow concerning certain behavior or duty.
1xp: An opportunity to break the vow comes up.
3xp: The character refuses to break the vow despite rewards or threats.
Buyoff: Break the vow.

Wanted –¬†The character is wanted by the law, justly or not.
1xp:¬†The character’s¬†wanted status comes up.
2xp: The character interacts with a law enforcement person or authority figure.
5xp: The character escapes a capture attempt.
Buyoff: Clear one’s name or give oneself up for trial.

What’s Next

Next up, the Westerner culture and rules for gun duels.


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