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.
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.