This series of posts—which I will heretofore refer to as I&I—will look at books, comics and movies related to the supernatural western genre, with reflection on how they could influence and inspire an RPG campaign.
I have this 1985 Clint Eastwood western—with hints of the supernatural—on DVD, but watched it again because it's also available to stream on HBO Max. It left me with a number of impressions.
Michael Moriarty's character, Hull Barrett, does a great job of showing how an ordinary person can become a hero, just by standing up for what is right.
I'm a sucker for the storyline in which a seasoned warrior helps a community of ordinary people to stand up for themselves, bringing out the strengths that they already possessed.
This is also a good example of how increased danger in combat can lead to some great action. While the tried-and-true Challenge Rating system of Dungeons & Dragons makes sure that encounters don't overpower the heroes, there's something to be said for the “fast, furious and fun,” and not necessarily balanced, rules of Savage Worlds.
When the situation really becomes serious, don't hesitate to use some dynamite.
The movie does show its age by having the two main female characters—well played by Carrie Snodgress and Sydney Penny—have little role in the fighting.
I enjoy seeing Richard Kiel, who famously played the hulking henchman Jaws in two James Bond movies, in the role of an enforcer who is not such a bad person as he seems.
Finally, the end battle is a good demonstration of how a somewhat complex battle map, a small western mining town, can create a really dramatic last battle.