Silver City Chronicles combines the feel of the wild-west with traditional fantasy elements, high-energy action, and a tinge of dark horror. It takes place in and around a fictional town known as Silver City, which can be easily placed in a historical west that never was, or in any fantasy world where gunpowder and steam power exist.
Players take on the roles of traditional western archetypes such as wranglers, gunslingers, priests, and gamblers. These Drifters roam the fantastic west looking for adventure and getting into trouble.
Everyone carries a sidearm of some sort in the fantastic west. Most people carry six-shooters, but some may carry shotguns, rifles, or even old flintlock pistols. Sabers, tomahawks, and flat bows are also common weapons, and many people are trained in unarmed combat – from brawling to kung-fu.
Regardless of the weapon being used, combat takes on a very acrobatic feel. A gunman won’t normally stand in place while unloading his weapon. He’ll jump on top of a poker table, sending a pile of chips flying, somersault over two drunken trolls in the middle of a fistfight, and then dive for cover behind the bar as he shoots the ten-gallon hat off of his opponent’s head.
While supernatural powers, known as Hokum in Silver City Chronicles, exist, they’re fairly uncommon. Few people know how to use them, and those that do are often viewed with suspicion, because they’re breaking the commonly agreed-upon laws of nature.
The effects of supernatural powers are generally subtle and not flashy. Setting the rail baron’s hat on fire is more appropriate than tossing around a fireball, for example. Animating a corpse is more easily accomplished than turning an entire town into zombies. In any case, the effects of Hokum generate a sense of awe in normal folk.
The areas surrounding Silver City are filled with fantastic creatures: dinosaurs, wyverns, griffins, saber-toothed coyotes, and iron scorpions. These legendary beasts provide formidable opponents for even the most skilled gunslinger, and fill the Badlands between towns with opportunities for both adventure and danger.
When dwarven prospectors dig a little too deep, they sometimes awaken ancient horrors, and sometimes the dead just don’t stay dead. Touches of horror in Silver City Chronicles should be few and far between, but should be appropriately gruesome.
The world of the Silver City Chronicles was first introduced in an adventure for the d20 Role Playing Game system called Diamond Gulch. I subsequently produced a set of wanted posters for the setting, and published it as a generic Wild West/fantasy supplement. PDFs of both items are available here: