Posted in: Character Creation Challenge, Role Playing Games, Westerns

2024 Character Creation Challenge Day 16: Boot Hill 3rd Edition

For Day 16 of the 2024 #CharacterCreationChallenge I elected to use the Boot Hill Wild West Role-Playing Game 3rd Edition released by TSR in 1990. This was another series that I was very much aware of, but didn’t get a chance to play back in the 80s and 90s. I think a gaming buddy may have had this game (or an earlier version). I know that I had seen several articles in Dragon magazine. During that time you didn’t know much about games unless you saw them on the store shelves or in an advertisement in one of the gaming magazines.

Like The Spy Game, I had purchased Boot Hill from a special theme sale on DriveThruRPG in September. I don’t know why Boot Hill came up at the same time as the other modern military RPGs that were in the sale, but I snagged it anyway knowing that I would probably never see a physical copy.

The PDF is 132 pages long with the character creation process starting on page six. The character sheet is one page long. The character creation process uses D10s, but the play uses D20s and D6s.

A Boot Hill 3e character has five attributes. Strength, Coordination, Observation, Stature (aka fame), and Luck. The rules state that I roll 2D10 and add them together for the score of the first three attributes and only a D10 for the last two. Then there are modifiers to the attribute depending upon what you rolled (so you didn’t end up with any below average scores). The book also had two other methods available which could have generated higher scores, but I stuck with the first method.

Next comes the skills of the character. Each new character gets a number skills that I can choose. To determine this number, I add up all of my attributes and consult a chart. This character ended up with eight starting skills. Half of the skills must be “work skills” (the second category is “weapon skills”). After I selected the skills I thought this character should have, I rolled 2d10 and added the results down the line for each skill score.

The book explains how the handedness works in the game and instructs me to pick a hand (right). If I roll a 20 on a D20, the character will be ambidextrous. Nope, rolled an 8.

Now the book goes into the description of combat and other rules discussions. I still need to come up with some basic background information for the character and give him some equipment. I finally found the equipment section in “The Western Campaign” several chapters later. But that still didn’t have anything on equipping a new character. So I made a good-judgement decision and wrote them down. Here is the character sheet.


While the PDF did have some basic bookmarks (the start of each chapter) the PDF was a little annoying. It included a map printed in the portrait format so I couldn’t “Fit To Width” the document to read it. I had to “zoom” into the page so I could get it to the readable size.

I liked how the book explained the rules as you were making the character. Now that you have your skill score, this is how you use it at the table. It helped me learn the game as I was making the character. That is something I really appreciated in a character creation process. There have been some games where I’ve completed making the character, but I don’t know how the numbers/dice work together.

I’ve got a handful of western based RPGs in both physical and PDF form. I don’t know if I’ll ever get a chance to play a western RPG, but I could see myself playing BH3e and perhaps even homebrewing for it. For a game that was released in 1990, it was explained quite well. It had some shortcomings when it came to initial equipment, but a good GM would be able to handle that.

I liked how they had known character stats listed in the book for historical and fictional cowboys.

Additional Notes:

A reader pointed out on the TardisCaptain dot Com Discord server that my Conan character could have been a farmer that later became a pirate. The example they used was Wesley from The Princess Bride becoming the Dread Pirate Roberts later. I hadn’t thought about that possible story line.

Going through my visitors log, I found that someone had arrived from another message board talking about the Character Creation Challenge. I didn’t recognize the username on this message board so I don’t know if it was the same reader who’s been promoting the challenge on other message boards. To this person, thank you.

Coming Up Next:

White Lies 2nd Edition

This article is open for discussion on the TardisCaptain dot Com Discord server. You can also email me at Carl (at) or click on my social media links with any comments.

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