Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Cowboys & Zombies

Posted by Rampant Coyote on January 7, 2013

So maybe THIS is what you get when you go to bed right after a Mountain Dew – fueled night filled with playing Baldur’s Gate (enhanced edition!) and  working on inventory UI for Frayed Knights 2. (And no, I haven’t played Minecraft or The Real Texas in weeks, so those are at least not an immediate influence).

I had a Dungeons & Dragons dream. Surprisingly, I don’t have these very often, but they are generally pretty fun. Part of the dream was literally a D&D game – the group was discussing tactics around the table.  It wasn’t medieval fantasy, however… we we armed with sixguns, shotguns, and lever-action revolvers and fighting a bad guy who was likewise armed, but also had at his command a posse of zombies.

After a discussion of defensive positions (we were defending some kind of dinner party or something) and who would be taking what sniper position where, the dream shifted perspective to the in-game action. With all of us wearing cowboy hats. It was nighttime, but the dinner party was lit by artificial light (I guess it was electricity). The bad guy and his zombie thugs were approaching behind a rock outcropping, keeping behind cover until they were relatively close, foiling good long-range sniper shots. Then the bad guy cast a spell, which shut off all the lights, and the zombies charged. Well, as much as zombies charge, which was (from what I could catch a glimpse of before the lights went out) more of a determined, shuffling march.

Well, no problem for ME, I thought: I have infravision. I think it was through magic spectacles or something.  Now, in old-school D&D, infravision was basically thermal vision – you could see heat sources.

Here’s the part that gets interesting: In my dream, I was surprised (at first) that the zombies were still invisible in the darkness – I could see the heat given off by the main bad guy as he’d be briefly, partially exposed behind cover. I could see the people at the dinner party. But not the zombies. And then I realized – zombies don’t give off heat! They are ambient temperature!

About that point I woke up – as it was Saturday morning – and thought, “Wow, cool!”

It was apparently much cooler than my wife’s dream, which she shared with me as well, which involved her giving birth to a monkey. Or a kid that highly resembled a monkey. Considering how our now very beautiful firstborn girl resembled a cross between a lizard and E.T. when she was born, I figure it wasn’t all that bizarre.

Now here’s the thing: I don’t know which I’m more surprised about – the fact that my subconscious came up with what sounds to me like a pretty clever plan that I’d never consciously thought of before, or the fact that I was “playing against myself” – in the dream, I was surprised by that logical twist as well.  But that IS the kind of tricky, clever encounters I do like putting in my games.

No, it won’t be in Frayed Knights 2. There’s no infravision in Frayed Knights, and I’m not about to implement it just for that. There are no rifles, either, at least to my knowledge… though there are cannons (and bombs), established via the explosive powder found early in the first game.

Filed Under: Geek Life - Comments: 5 Comments to Read

  • Xenovore said,

    Awesome! =D

    I like the idea a lot: a sort of western/steam-punk setting with zombies (and/or other undead) would be hella cool; and break from the usual fantasy/sci-fi tropes.
    (Hmm… would this be a fit for Appalachia?)

  • LateWhiteRabbit said,

    I love weird dreams where it seems like I’m playing both sides against myself in the middle. My favorite was where I dreamed I was in an old school black and white Twilight Zone episode. I wondered around this small town street, and if I looked back behind any of the buildings they suddenly became 2D sets on a sound stage, propped up by boards, and the color would return. I’d duck back onto to the street again and everything went back to black and white and 3D real buildings. But the strangest part was that I was narrating the dream like some kind of disembodied voice coming from everywhere and nowhere, taking the place traditionally occupied by Rod Serling. And though the voice was clearly ME, I wasn’t controlling it, and would look around in bewilderment for where it came from. And it was kind of mocking and mean.

    “He wandered around in confusion. Why was the world suddenly in black and white? What trickery was this that made a real building become a wooden prop, or was it, he pondered, prop sets becoming actual buildings?”

    I had one of those epiphany’s you sometimes have in dreams, where you realize you’re having one, and that just made it MORE weird.

    “‘It must be a dream,’ he thought to himself. At least, he was reasonably sure it was a dream. But it occurred to him, all at once, that he might just be crazy. He was hearing a voice in his head after all, and his narcissism compelled him to believe it was his own.”

    I saw a bridge in the dream, and decided to jump, hoping that would wake me up. As I approached the edge, the narrator started up again.

    “He decided to end it all. The dream, if in fact that were the case, or his reality, if the truth was the world around him. It did not occur to him, except as I say this, that if he was on TV sound stage, his suicide would be ruining a perfectly fine television episode for the home viewers.”

    I woke up immediately after that, before I could jump, and was vaguely annoyed at myself, but torn over how cool the dream had been.

    Oh, and now after reading your post I want to stage a campaign with a bunch of players that have access to infravision, train them to be depend on it, and then throw a bunch of zombies at them in the dark!

  • Ragnor said,

    I must use this in a pen&paper game! Great idea and a shocker for players :).

  • SER said,

    Nice! Sounds very Deadlands. I for one would love to a see a good weird west crpg.

  • The Paradox Virus said,

    […] subconscious is still every bit as creative and clever as I wish my conscious mind would be. From thermal-sensor-resistant cowboy zombies to this, I occasionally get these very clever dreams that I wish I could do something […]