One idea that keeps popping into my head lately is a return to the genre of the Western.
In a manner of speaking, a reboot of Boot Hill.
In the 37 years I've been gaming, I've only run a single Wild West campaign.
It was in 1979 I believe, I was about 10, and it's still one of my best campaigns I have ever done to this day.
The campaign featured a Masked Rider, a Native American Mystic, a Half-Black/Half-Mexican Gunslinger, a Yankee Dandy who was a Detective and a Scientist, and a honest-to-goodness Singing Cowboy (who sang and played guitar, giving various buffs to the team and debuffs to their enemies).
It featured ghosts, native spirits of the land, coal burning automata, a clone of Billy the Kid and deals with the devil.
In a discussion with one of my current players about my old 'Legend of Boot Hill' game, I listed a number of influences and inspirations for the campaign that would still apply if I ran it again today. As a matter of fact, I can think of very little I would add. My 'Wild West Appendix N' from 35 years ago would be pretty much identical to my 'Wild West Appendix N' now.
While there might be others, these are my primary inspirations for running a Wild West campaign:
All-Star Western and Western Comics from DC Comics
(Featuring Batlash, Cinnamon Star, Johnny Thunder, Nighthawk, 'Pow Wow' Smith, etc.)
Blazing Saddles (Motion Picture) (You can't NOT be influenced by Blazing Saddles)
Bonanza (Television Series)
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (Motion Picture)
Fistful of Dollars (Motion Picture)
Gunsmoke (Television Series)
Lone Ranger (Radio and Television)
Rawhide (Television Series)
The Magnificent Seven (Motion Picture)
The Wild West comic books are of particular note, since at the age of 10, they were my most accessible window into the genre and the period.
In addition to the DC Comics Western heroes, Marvel's Wild West characters were popular with my friends and I as well. Kid Colt, The Phantom Rider, Rawhide Kid, and the Two-Gun Kid, all played a part in helping me develop the kinds of NPC allies and enemies the PCs would face.
I remember reading a book with a number of ghost stories and local legends from the period that had a major impact on the kind of game I wanted to run. I wanted to infuse the setting with just enough strange and unexplained elements to separate it from a normal Western story, but not make it so obvious that the players felt they were playing a Fantasy RPG.
Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods, a favorite, little known resource of mine, originally published in 1910, was another book that saw some use in the aforementioned campaign. The book is a bestiary of fantastic critters supposedly dwelling in the United States and Canada. It is a tome of American folklore and myth at it's finest and well worth a look.
In the end, what is the final result of this post? Why am I really bringing it up? Am I just reminiscing, or has the time finally come to revisit this campaign setting?
Is this my online game, to be run over Google Hangouts?
Tarnation! You got me Hoss. Got to do some thinkin'.