Gold and Lead
This is a land of opportunity. The oppressed come here to set up on their own, away from oppressors. There’s a whole untamed land out there (getting a bit smaller than it was).
Lots of minorities come here seeking work and bits of the American Dream. There’s a fair amount of intolerance, racism and sexism historically, but I’d like to try and address those sorts of things slightly more positively than some folks of the time would have. Chinamen, Blacks and Irish are people too, after all.
What does your character do to earn a living? Why’re you out in the West at a small railroad town? You could work for the railroad maybe as a surveyor, scout or foreman. Maybe you’re a hand from a nearby ranch. Maybe the saloons and comparative civilization are a draw for gamblers or entertainers.
This rules system has no alignment system. Nevertheless, I’d like all of the players to start out as reasonably decent people, at least by Western or mercenary standards. Bad things will undoubtedly happen, but I’d much rather your characters were driven to extremes (if such may happen), rather than being Chaotic Evil insane psychopaths from the get go.
Don’t get me wrong, killin’ folks may come easy to some. I’m not after a party of yellow-bellied pacifists by any means. Dynamiting schoolchildren, raping settlers or shooting every negro you lay eyes on is rather too extreme, though. I don’t want to run a game full of nutballs. If banditry is your thing, most people are a poor target. Stagecoaches and trains and banks are where it’s at.
Heroes or anti-heroes are what I’m after. There needs to be some sort of sympathy or empathy with the character as a counterpoint to the darkness to make the story interesting.
If you think you want to play a character that you feel is maybe a bit edgy – come talk to me about it. Maybe it’ll be fine.
Chances are you’ll need to work together. You may not like each other (as characters), but I don’t want you trying to kill each other. I’d hope you could muster some grudging respect at the very least. If you want to play a really antisocial loner – come talk to me about it.