When this week started, I really didn't have much in the way of plans for the 4th of July. Most of my family either lives too far away or had other plans. However, that all changed when I got something of a last-minute invite to a last-minute get-together barbeque. And I do mean last minute, as I was notified of such quite late the night of July the 3rd.
Well, what does this have to do anything? Other than spending the holiday in the company of friends? Well, it was a small gathering of folks, most of whom were gamers, and I was asked if I'd be willing to break out some Deadlands for the occasion. You see, a few weeks back, my interest in Deadlands and Savage Worlds got re-ignited thanks to the Deadlands Noir Kickstarter project. Now I'd given Savage Worlds a once-over when the Deadlands Reloaded book came out, but I really wasn't that impressed. But with the Savage Worlds Deluxe version and DL:Noir, I was willing to give it a second look. So when the offer came to once again break out some Marshal Law on a group of hapless cowpokes, I was hard-pressed to pass up the chance.
I initially was going to run an intro-module I'd written up for Classic way back in the day, but sadly the document file got corrupted between computer moves. So that left me scrambling for a suitable adventure. I had pondered running Night Train, a classic Dime Novel adventure that is well-known amidst the Deadlands community for being one of the most lethal adventures written for the game, possibly ranking up there with the legendary Tomb of Horrors in terms of kill-factor. But I didn't really my first foray into a new system to be wind-up a TPK. To heavily paraphrase a line from the movie Purgatory, "The Marshal is tough, but he ain't without mercy." And Night Train is bad even if you know what you're getting into; I've run and payed this module several times, and only two didn't end with TPKs (though one came awfully darn close).
Luckily, I still have all my Deadlands Classic books handy, and so I skimmed through them, finally settling on "Comin' Round the Mountain" from the back of the Marshal's Handbook. I'd run it once before, and it works pretty well for a one-shot. Thankfully, I didn't have to re-work any of the stats, as Pinnacle has been considerate enough to offer a free conversion with updated mechanics and stats. So that cut down on the heavy lifting as it were. If you're interested, there's a direct link at the bottom of this post.
So next came the issue of "pre-gens or build-their-own"? Do I build a bunch of pre-gen heroes for my player-victims, or do I spend valuable time trying to herd cats and get folks to build heroes in a system that most of them really aren't that familiar with? Well, I opted to simply build a bunch of pre-gens, taking advantage of a set of house-rules to use a draws from a poker deck to build your would-be hero; again, see link at end of post. I used the same draws for all the pre-gens, as the first one proved pretty snazzy in the shape of a King, a Pair of 10's, a Pair of 7's, and a 5. All I did was alter what card was assigned to what value for each of the pre-gens, all of whom were based upon an archetype selected from the DL:Classic Player's Guide. I left each of the fairly generic so that any little details, like name, appearance, and personal details could be filled in as the player wished. When done, I had a Buffalo Gal, a Gunslinger, a Huckster (re: a gambler-themed magician), an Indian Brave, a Mad Scientist, and a Private Investigator. That to me sounds like a good mix of character types and should provide ample opportunity for role-playing (which it did, in spades).
That's all for this post, as the second one will have an overview of how the adventure played out, and my thoughts on the Savage Worlds system. I made a few on-the-fly changes, particularly in the realm of how skills work, but said changes seemed to work out pretty well.
DL:Reloaded - Card-Based Character Creation
DL:Reloaded Conversion Notes for "Comin' Round the Mountain"