Polling interest in a possible Deadlands Reloaded game.

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Kavonde
Location: Bakersfield, CA
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Polling interest in a possible Deadlands Reloaded game.

Postby Kavonde » Sun May 12, 2013 7:29 am

Hey, folks. Seeing as we seem to have a fairly healthy PBP community 'round these parts, I was wondering if there might be any interest in playing a Deadlands Reloaded campaign. For those unfamiliar, Deadlands is a long-running campaign setting that takes place in an alternate-history version of the late 19th century. The return of magic to the world (very few people actually know the story of what happened) led to the prolongation of the American Civil War and an eventual cease fire, while a massive earthquake shattered the West Coast from Seattle to San Diego, revealing a valuable new resource called "ghost rock" but turning thousands of square miles into a flooded, broken labrynth. Two Native American nations have gained independence, turning the tables and oppressing the white settlers in their lands. Brilliant scientists use ghost rock to fuel fantastical inventions, slowly going mad as a result, and Chinese masters of kung fu find it easier and easier to tap into their chi to perform amazing stunts.

The latest edition of the setting runs off Savage Worlds, a system designed to be incredibly flexible, easy-to-learn, and speedy. Of course, as I haven't actually run a game of this yet, there will undoubtedly be a few rough spots here and there as people get the hang of things. There are PDFs available for purchase at a reasonable fee from the publisher's website, and the books aren't terribly expensive, either. (Of course, it goes without saying that there are other ways to obtain them, but shame on you.)

All that said, I don't know if I'd even have time to run this game this summer, as I'm taking every class I can enroll in in an effort to finally finish up my B.A. Still, if there's enough interest, I'll definitely see if I can work this into my schedule, and we'll have a bigger discussion on rules and character creation later.
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jconroy18
Location: Washington D.C.

Re: Polling interest in a possible Deadlands Reloaded game.

Postby jconroy18 » Thu May 30, 2013 11:22 pm

Sounds like steam punk Shadowrun western. Count me in
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Kavonde
Location: Bakersfield, CA
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Re: Polling interest in a possible Deadlands Reloaded game.

Postby Kavonde » Thu May 30, 2013 11:47 pm

Cool. If we can get, say, two more folks on board, I'll start doing some actual work on this.

In the meantime, I literally just posted a piece discussing Deadlands that you may be interested in. Here's a link.
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jconroy18
Location: Washington D.C.

Re: Polling interest in a possible Deadlands Reloaded game.

Postby jconroy18 » Fri May 31, 2013 7:08 pm

That description of the setting made me drool.
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Daemian Lucifer

Re: Polling interest in a possible Deadlands Reloaded game.

Postby Daemian Lucifer » Fri May 31, 2013 7:51 pm

Ill read the rules over the weekend and see if Ill go with it.Probably yes.
MadTinkerer

Re: Polling interest in a possible Deadlands Reloaded game.

Postby MadTinkerer » Mon Jun 03, 2013 5:10 am

Long-time Savage Worlds GM here. Very interested in playing for once. I'm versed in a lot of the Classic Deadlands secrets but since I never got around to running a Reloaded campaign, a lot of the new secrets remain unspoiled for me. I also haven't read any of the GM Only parts of Deadlands Noir yet, and am not as familiar with the secrets of Hell on Earth.

So you can assume any Reloaded campaign material is safe from spoilers, but any Classic adventures you want to use I probably know how they go already.

Also, if you have any rules questions, I own a copy of every printing of the rulebook. So, yeah.
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Daemian Lucifer

Re: Polling interest in a possible Deadlands Reloaded game.

Postby Daemian Lucifer » Mon Jun 03, 2013 5:57 am

Ok,if this gets started Im in.Probably gonna be a mad doctor,or a monk,depending on what the others pick.
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jconroy18
Location: Washington D.C.

Re: Polling interest in a possible Deadlands Reloaded game.

Postby jconroy18 » Mon Jun 03, 2013 7:05 pm

Lets see. I'm thinking i'll be a mountain man who was horribly scarred by a wendigo named Johant.... never mind back to the drawing board.
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Kavonde
Location: Bakersfield, CA
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Re: Polling interest in a possible Deadlands Reloaded game.

Postby Kavonde » Mon Jun 03, 2013 7:57 pm

MadTinkerer wrote:Long-time Savage Worlds GM here. Very interested in playing for once. I'm versed in a lot of the Classic Deadlands secrets but since I never got around to running a Reloaded campaign, a lot of the new secrets remain unspoiled for me. I also haven't read any of the GM Only parts of Deadlands Noir yet, and am not as familiar with the secrets of Hell on Earth.

So you can assume any Reloaded campaign material is safe from spoilers, but any Classic adventures you want to use I probably know how they go already.

Also, if you have any rules questions, I own a copy of every printing of the rulebook. So, yeah.


Honestly, man, you sound like a bit of a godsend. Like I said, I don't have any actual experience running SW yet, and I definitely wouldn't mind having an old hand around to let me know when I screw something up.

I'm going to start some actual prep, but I'm not going to make anything official yet. Summer classes start next week, and I'd like to get some idea of how insane my workload's going to be before I start committing. But you guys might want to go ahead and start thinking about your characters, y'hear?
MadTinkerer

Re: Polling interest in a possible Deadlands Reloaded game.

Postby MadTinkerer » Tue Jun 04, 2013 8:12 pm

Okay, so in the meantime, allow me to elaborate on the kinds of characters you can make in Deadlands, as I have the sweet hardback DL:R player's Guide right here in my lap.

Semi Realism To Start: Deadlands as a setting mostly resembles real history as far as most people are concerned. The main differences are that the North and South are still split, and half of California has been literally shattered by a huge earthquake. 99% of the time, your character starts off with zero knowledge of the supernatural elements. You've heard rumors, of course, about folks getting back up after dying, ticks that can grow to massive size in cattle, ghosts and vampires and jackalopes and- say, you don't actually believe any of those crazy tall tales, right?

"Normal" folks include gunslingers, braves, lawmen, snake oil salesmen, entertainers, explorers, outlaws, soldiers, prospectors, preachers, gamblers, and all the typical Wild West characters.

There are a ton of Edges (special abilities that usually come from training) that "normal" heroes can take, and some "weird" Edges that may or may not be supernatural in origin. And there are also heroes with special powers.

Magical Folks: Although most Deadlands characters are supposed to start off relatively normal, you are allowed to pick an Arcane Background in this setting. There are five main ABs in the Deadlands: The Weird West setting: Blessed, Chi Masters, Hucksters, Mad Scientists, and Shamans. Each Arcane Background has different drawbacks that usually don't affect non-Arcane heroes, so they're considered fairly "balanced" in the long run. Bear in mind that at character creation your character is only aware that their kind of powers are real. Even if you are playing a spell-slinging Huckster, you should act surprised when you find out that the old Chinese man can split boulders with his bare hands.

Blessed: Blessed are folks, usually preachers and the like, whom The Almighty has granted actual miracles. Becoming Blessed is effortless, you are simply chosen due to true piety or maybe you're not that pure but granting you powers fits into The Almighty's plan. In any case, the better your Faith is, the more often your prayers are granted. Even better, you don't need to learn how to use different miracles, you can ask for anything on the list as often as you like.

The catch is that every time you ask for a miracle, there's a chance of suffering a Crisis of Faith. The miracle doesn't happen, and your odds of success are reduced until you do succeed. This can be mitigated with the Conviction Edge and by spending Bennies.

Voodoo priests are also available that use the Blessed rules, but there's also a Voodoo variant in Deadlands Noir, so you'll have to ask which version this campaign uses.

Chi Masters: (Also called Martial Artists in Deadlands, but I prefer to use "Chi Master" for the AB because there are also non-arcane Martial Arts Edges.) Due to the large Oriental immigrant population in the west (mostly Chinese but also Japanese, Korean etc.) the knowledge of Arcane Kung Fu has spread to The Weird West. Instead of relying on other spirits, good or bad, Chi Masters have strengthened their inner spirits enough to directly channel the ambient supernatural power of the Hunting Grounds through their physical bodies. If you've seen Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Iron Monkey, Hero, or other Wuxia films, it's basically like that.

Mechanically, each power is considered a Spirit Skill, and otherwise works like Arcane Background (Super Powers) in Savage Worlds. Thus Chi Masters get a large pool of points to spend and the fewest drawbacks, but usually have the smallest selection of powers. This is fine because most Chi Powers are designed to augment the character's non-Arcane combat abilities.

Hucksters: Hucksters are probably the most iconic characters of Deadlands: The Weird West. The story goes that Edmund Hoyle, the famous author of Hoyle's Book of Games was actually a sorcerer who "encoded" spells into the rules of the card games he described in the books. Some people, mostly professional gamblers, discovered these secret codes and spells and learned how to do magic for themselves. The way this works is that evil spirits called manitous (or sometimes just "devils") live in the Hunting Grounds and Hucksters are skilled at convincing them to play games of wit and chance. If the Huckster wins, the spell they are attempting succeeds. If the Huckster loses, bad things can happen including the Huckster taking physical damage.

Mechanically, the way this works is that Hucksters have a pool of Power Points like the normal Arcane Background (Magic) in Savage worlds. This represents a metaphorical stockpile of "chips" the Huckster can use to more-safely cast spells. However these points recharge extremely slowly. However, at any time Hucksters can "Deal with the Devil" which costs no points and the player draws a hand of cards. Normal playing cards. At the table. Yes. It's a Deadlands thing. Anyway, if the hand of cards isn't good enough, the GM rolls on the Backfire Table to see what happens. (Like with Blessed, there are various Edges and ways to mitigate Backfire, but never completely.)

Mad Scientists: Steampunk inventors whose gadgets actually work, but are prone to breaking down and exploding. Ghost Rock is a special super-fuel in this setting that was discovered years prior and is usually said to fuel infernal contraptions, though this is currently considered "flavor text" and isn't used by the current Reloaded rules. I'm sure you're aware of the Victorian Era Mad Scientist type character, and these are them.

Mechanically, inventions use the same rules as normal Savage Worlds Weird Science, but Deadlands inventions start with twenty power points and may explode if a malfunction is rolled. Also, because inspiration for these inventions actually comes from a supernatural source I won't spoil, every new invention means the GM gets to roll on something called the Dementia Table. Such fun!

Shamans: Native American Shamans are able to communicate with the Nature Spirits of the Hunting Grounds. These spirits are not (usually) evil, but do require the Shaman to do various rituals to gain favor with them and generally despise both Western and Eastern "civilization". Shamanic powers cover a variety of nature and elemental based effects, "buffing" other characters, as well as more "spritual" abilities such as Mind Rider and Vision Quest.

Mechanically, Shamans must learn the rituals for each spell separately, and must participate in various appeasement rituals during "down time". Like Arcane Background (Miracles) in the regular Savage Worlds rules, Shamans have certain "sins" to avoid to stay in favor with the spirits, but start with a pool of 15 power points. Power Points are usually regained normally, but can be regained faster by "avoiding civilization".

In Deadlands Classic, almost no one made Shaman characters because the rules were too strict. Riding on a train meant risking permanently losing your powers, so here's hoping the rest of the group never need to ride on a train either! Also, you can't even hold a gun! In the Old West! Haha! In Reloaded the spirits are much more forgiving, and sleeping under the stars and such is expressed as a bonus to regaining PP rather than a requirement of keeping powers.

Okay: So that was longer than I originally intended. Some of the actual rules I mentioned may differ depending on whatever house rules Kavonde might want to use, but that's the gist of how tabletop Deadlands Reloaded works.
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jconroy18
Location: Washington D.C.

Re: Polling interest in a possible Deadlands Reloaded game.

Postby jconroy18 » Wed Jun 05, 2013 12:19 am

In the description there was mention of gunslingers who used magic symbols to enhance their weapons and make impossible shots. Is this just an item buff (+10 to hit) or a different set of mechanics?
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Kavonde
Location: Bakersfield, CA
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Re: Polling interest in a possible Deadlands Reloaded game.

Postby Kavonde » Wed Jun 05, 2013 1:39 am

Those folks are referred to as "hexslingers;" Doc Holliday is probably the most accomplished in the West. Mechanically, they're Hucksters who specialize in shootin' over spellslingin', and their powers tend to have trappings based around gunplay. "Blast," for example, could be marked by the runes on your six-shooter flashing, followed by a sudden eruption of flame from the barrel.

There have been some fanmade efforts to spin hexslingers off into their own, proper class, but nothing official. I'll look into them (I'm a big fan of the concept myself) and see if I can cobble together something that seems balanced. If not, the default rules work fine, even if you have to justify things a bit in your head to make them fit.
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jconroy18
Location: Washington D.C.

Re: Polling interest in a possible Deadlands Reloaded game.

Postby jconroy18 » Thu Jun 06, 2013 11:44 pm

I would be very interested in creating that class.
MadTinkerer

Re: Polling interest in a possible Deadlands Reloaded game.

Postby MadTinkerer » Wed Jun 19, 2013 9:04 am

The current Huckster spell list pretty much covers Hexslinging. With the old rules it made sense to split the ABs, especially since each got their own completely separate list of spells/powers, but with Savage World's more simple ruleset, most of the old hexslinging spells can be condensed into just one or two. As an example, in Savage Worlds there's one spell called raise/lower trait, which covers 1) all skill and ability buffing spells 2) all skill and ability debuffing spells. That, plus Aim, Bolt, and Deflection pretty much covers all the old Hexslinger tricks.

So if you want to be a Hexslinger: great! Just use the Huckster rules, give your character a good Shooting skill and a few nonmagical related gunslinger style Edges and you're all set. If you haven't read the Savage Worlds rules yet, there's a big emphasis on something called "trappings". What that means is you get to decide exactly how your character's spells look like and how they function. Game mechanics-wise, a Bolt is a Bolt. But where one Huckster might fling exploding cards, another might toss deadly glowing dice, or summon a derringer from his sleeve which was clearly empty before (and then the gun mysteriously vanishes without a trace). Hexslingers are the same, but their trappings tend to involve their guns in some way.
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CraigM

Re: Polling interest in a possible Deadlands Reloaded game.

Postby CraigM » Wed Jun 19, 2013 12:59 pm

Hey, I've been on a 19th century kick lately (thanks to Victoria 2 and Napoleon) so this grabs my attention. I'd love to join if you're not going to be starting in the next week. I leave for vacation today, and get back the 30th.

As for playing, it can only be Mad Scientist. I'm thinking survivor of disastrous military action (Charge of the Light Brigade, Picketts Charge?) who after the war hears rumors and proceeds to move to the west. In any case the concept is a veteran outsider, either they're a foreigner (love the idea of British ex-pat in the west) or disillusioned civil war soldier who disavows their former army. Plus gives ample opportunity for a poorly (well?) timed humorous breakdown, any suggestion of attacking cannons will result in a drawn gun pointed your way.
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Kavonde
Location: Bakersfield, CA
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Re: Polling interest in a possible Deadlands Reloaded game.

Postby Kavonde » Wed Jun 19, 2013 7:56 pm

It's looking like I'll have time to run the game, though I'll likely only be posting before class or later at night. However, I have run into some concerns with adapting Savage Worlds to a PbP system; it is, after all, intended to be a fast-paced ruleset, which isn't always possible in this format.

On the other hand, I've always been pretty comfortable with houseruling things as the need arises, and I've got a campaign in mind. So go ahead and start making those characters, pardners. I'll post an official sign-up thread this weekend, and the game will start some time after CraigM gets back from his vacation.
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CraigM

Re: Polling interest in a possible Deadlands Reloaded game.

Postby CraigM » Wed Jun 19, 2013 10:36 pm

Very well lads, I shall enjoy your company once I have returned from my expedition out west. In the mean time I'd suggest staying away from any devices you see, especially the glowing ones. They're a bit... unstable as it were.
Yours truly
Reginald Aldus Hyde

Yes... I like how that sounds.
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jconroy18
Location: Washington D.C.

Re: Polling interest in a possible Deadlands Reloaded game.

Postby jconroy18 » Wed Aug 07, 2013 3:25 am

So I am back from my job in rural Pennsylvanian. I have some money and the Deadlands rule book. I have made a character and I thought I might share part of his back story for peer review. So sit down and let me tell you a story of Danny.

Danny was born on the fair Emerald Isle. He was the only son of two Irish revolutionaries. His Father was a horse groom for a wealthy Englishman and worked as an informant for the revolution. Danny's mother was a fearsome woman with hair the color of fire, and an interest in Hoyle's Book of Games. Danny learned many things from his mother about controlling Jacks, but he differed from her in one very important aspect. Where his mother would play a game of Irish Switch with the daemon, Danny preferred a more, direct game. Russian Roulette. This choice of game caused bullets to appear in and around Danny's hands instead of cards. This predisposed Danny to channeling the Jack's power through an empty gun. After the failed uprising of 1848. Danny fled to America. He found work building the Erie canal, and then as a horse groom. When war erupted Danny was drafted into a Calvary division commanded by one Major General John Buford. During the war Danny was a valued soldier as he could always halt attacks dead in their tracks through nearly superhuman feats and uncanny luck. That is until the Battle of Gettysburg.
At Gettysburg Buford's cavalry was holding the high ground against the Confederate Army of Norther Virgina, and waiting for infantry reinforcements. Danny was running low on power and so he Dealt with the Devil. Danny sipped.
Danny lost his right hand because of that slip and had to sit out the rest of his service term as an army cook and stable hand. Once his time was up Danny took what little money he had and what little gear he had left from his days as a cavalryman and set out west looking yet again for a new start.

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