Guns of Tarnation

I’m running a major membership drive to the Rogue Genius Games Facebook page. I challenged folks that if we got to 600 likes (from 540) by Nov 1, I’d make a pdf free forever, and post a 600-or-so word microsetting.
It took all of two days for us to pass 600, and we’re now at more than 650. If we hit 700 by Nov 1, I’ll do another free pdf and a 700-or-so-word microsetting.
For those of you not on Facebook, here is the (slightly more than) 600-word Microsetting: Guns of Tarnation!
Guns of Tarnation
A microsetting (for now, anyway) for the Pathfinder RPG rules. This is designed as a Magic Old West, so that’s how the GM should run the campaign. Winchesters & Runeblades. Magnificent Seven Wizards. The Lone 5th Level Ranger. You get the idea.
As The Duke, lord of Cattle Barons, opens up the Gateway to the West all types of adventurers -Spellpokes, Swordslingers, Native Folk, Tenderpriests, Drovers, Riflebearers, and Snake Oil Salesmen – must try to carve out settlements from Tarnation, the land of fertile plains and grasslands where no civilized folk ever lived before. But given the Weirdnesses found there, newcomers often declare:
“What in TARNATION!?”

*The campaign uses the Guns Everywhere rules for firearms. This means firearms are simple weapons.
>>If a character has simple weapon proficiency and would also receive any firearm proficiency as a class feature, it instead gains weapon mastery (as the fighter class feature) with the same firearms.
*There is no multiclassing. It’s a simple world, with simple roles. Besides with the Advanced Class Guide and all the Talented Classes from Rogue Genius Games, you’ll manage just fine.
*Ability scores are point-buy. Fighters and rogues get 27 points. Gunslingers get 25. Paladins and summoners get 21. Everyone else gets 23.
*There is no alignment. All alignment restrictions are removed, no alignment is detected. However, chaos, evil, good, and law remain as descriptors for spells and subtypes for monsters.
*There are “hats.” Everyone must select if their character is a White Hat, Black Hat, or Brown Hat. While PCs are free to act however they like, the GM should have 90% of White Hats be good guys, 90% of Black Hats be bad guys, and 90% of everything else be Brown Hats.
>>Treat White Hats as good and lawful for purposes of how they are affected by spells that specifically affect a good or lawful creature differently than other creatures. This has no impact on the character’s behavior, and is not revealed by divinations.
>>Black Hats follow the same rules, but for chaotic and evil.
>>Brown Hats follow the same rules, but for neutral.
*For abilities like ranger favorite enemies and the bane feature, there are only the following categories: ANASAZI (all outsiders), CRITTERS (animals, magical beasts, and vermin), FOLKS (all humanoids, but pick a hat color each time it is selected), CREATURES of TARNATION (aberrations, constructs, dragons, oozes, and undead), and ROUGH TERRAIN (elementals, fey, and plants).
*Every character gains Plot Immunity Armor. This acts as an armor bonus to AC, but represents attacks just not hitting you because you are the hero. It does not stack with normal armor bonuses. Your Plot Immunity Armor is equal to your class level, +1 for each form of armor proficiency (light, medium, heavy, shields, tower shields) you have
*The campaign is designed to run from 2nd to 6th level. You can stop playing at 6th, or use some variant of the E6 rules commonly available.
*There is no required wealth by level. You may never get any treasure at all. Play for the fun of playing. That said, to keep you balanced with creatures of your CR, you do gain “legend,” special bonuses for being the strong-jawed heroes of the setting:
>>At 2nd level, you gain either a +1 enhancement bonus to all weapon/unarmed/natural attacks, or two bonus feats you meet the prerequisites for.
>>At 3rd level you gain a +1 resistance bonus to all saves and a +1 to one ability score of your choice. (This is in addition to the ability score increase you’ll get at 4th, like normal).
>>At 4th level you gain a +1 deflection bonus to AC.
>>5th level is the same as 3rd level. If you already had an enhancement bonus and you select it again, you either end up with a +2 enhancement bonus or you add a +1 special weapon quality that applies to all attacks it can be applied to.
>>6th level is the same as 3rd level. You can increase the same ability score, or a different one.

About Owen K.C. Stephens

Owen K.C. Stephens Owen Kirker Clifford Stephens is a full-time ttRPG Writer, designer, developer, publisher, and consultant. He's the publisher for Rogue Genius Games, and has served as the Starfinder Design Lead for Paizo Publishing, the Freeport and Pathfinder RPG developer for Green Ronin, a developer for Rite Publishing, and the Editor-in-Chief for Evil Genius Games. Owen has written game material for numerous other companies, including Wizards of the Coast, Kobold Press, White Wolf, Steve Jackson Games and Upper Deck. He also consults, freelances, and in the off season, sleeps. He has a Pateon which supports his online work. You can find it at

Posted on October 20, 2014, in Anachronistic Adventurers, Business of Games, Game Design, Microsetting, Pathfinder Development and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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