Anti-Hero points: a mechanic for Spaghetti Western games

I’ve been playing around with submitting an article to the Cepheus Journal about running Spaghetti Western-inspired adventures in Cepheus Engine games, specifically Independence Game’s Rider.

Here’s one of the ideas I’ve been considering. Note that none of this has been playtested in any way.

Anti-Hero Points

It was common in many Italian westerns for the main characters to be violent, powerful figures, each acting solely in their self-interest, whom fate seemed smile upon despite (or because of) their duplicitous natures. Betrayals and double-crosses happened quite regularly. The classic example might be the characters in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. To replicate this we’ll add the mechanic of Anti-Hero Points. Each player will start out with 2 Anti-Hero points.

Anti-Hero Points can be used for the following:

  • Re-roll any player roll
  • Re-roll any GM roll
  • Hand of Fate: A coincidence occurs in the players favor. A dying man tells them their secret, The rope around their neck snaps, a church bell chimes at exactly at the right time to cover their victim’s scream, etc.

To gain new Anti-Hero points, a player can do one of the following:

  • Defeat a named enemy: 1 point. This can’t be some unnamed desperado or henchman. It has to be a significant character who is part of the plot.
  • Betraying a NPC: 1 point. The NPC has to be someone who has an arrangement with, or at least trusts the player.
  • Betraying another Player: 2 points. This doesn’t necessarily have to be an act of violence; stealing their money, sending them on a wild goose chase, or just abandoning them, would all qualify.

The idea is to mechanically encourage duplicity and dramatic plot twists among the players, so a GM might want to make that clear at the beginning of a game, to avoid any hurt feelings.

Now, many Cepheus Engine games already have Hero Points, but this mechanic is specifically designed for Rider, which does not.

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