Works Cited

When I GM’d BASH, I decided to give my players a sort of “works cited” page, that included the movies and comic books I was drawing on for inspiration (The Dark Knight, Ex Machina, Watchmen, and the new Batwoman run being prime examples).

As I run Dust Devils right now, it’s occurring to me that I probably should have done the same thing.

I think the main inspirations are Once Upon a Time in the West, from which I got the whole fight over a farm thing; Unforgiven, from which I got the gunfighters at the end of their career thing; Death Rides a Horse, from which I’m pulling some of the relationships from; and Keoma, from which I’m getting the whole big man quietly rules a town thing.

Visually, I’m drawing on the western ptotographs of Ansel Adams and Craig Varjabedian. If the game can feel how those photos look, then I’ve done my job.

Musically, we’re rocking Earth, the soundtrack to Red Dead Redemption, and a bunch of Ennio Morricone stuff while we play. I think it’s helping to keep everyone in the right frame of mind.

Either way, the point is that I kind of like this whole “works cited” thing, and I think I’ll keep using it for future games. I’m obviously drawing stuff from SOMEWHERE, so I might as well let the players in on it so we can all be on the same page.

3 thoughts on “Works Cited

  1. As a player in the same game, I used my own inspirations in creating my character, Nellie Hart. These aren’t so much works cited as source material I culled from to form Nellie and her background.

    As inspiration for a female outlaw character, I took bits of Belle Starr ( and Pearl Hart ( When I see her in my head, I’m thinking of someone like Calamity Jane from the HBO series “Deadwood” (

    I think it can be a little tricky sometimes finding women in Westerns that aren’t schoolmarms or prostitutes. That’s why I just find characters I like, gender be damned. Nellie is a bit “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” and a touch of Jake from “Silverado.”

    The pistols Nellie takes her nickname from were won off a showman from Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. I am actually a card carrying member of the Showman’s League of America, an organization founded by Buffalo Bill for his performers, many of whom were former cowboys and lawmen. If you live in Chicago, do yourself a favor and go to the SLA headquarters. It is a crazy clearinghouse of all things Americana, and they’ve got some amazing original pictures and memorabilia from the Wild West Show. (

  2. See, that’s part of what I like about Nellie. That she’s NOT the town prostitute or schoolmarm. I think she’s an interesting character because you definitely started from the inside out, rather than the outside in, if that makes sense.

  3. Just wait until you see my character for Apocalypse World. I will be interested to see if any of you can figure out the source material I bastardized to make her.

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