So for today, I shall be doing a posting my initial reactions to what I’ve read thus far in the book, and I plan, once I’ve finished reading it, to do a more detailed post about the campaign setting. Don’t worry, I’ll do a “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” breakdown when I do a full review.. It’s a Western, I think by law, I’m required to use the reference!
What kind of setting is Deadlands: Reloaded?
It’s a Western with a spalsh of horror and pulp (staying true to the Savage Worlds feel). The combat is fast, brutal, and you can, through a stupid mistake or overly confident challenge, lose your beloved character to, as the book puts it, “one mean and tough hombre.” So love your character, but understand that they could be taking a dirt nap at any time, so don’t become obsessed with your character.
The book itself is good quality, and the artwork, while not the breathtaking splendor that is Dungeons and Dragons, is decent and enjoyable. The layout is good, although the editing could honestly be better. There are several times, in the 70 pages I have read where the opening line of a paragraph will have no spaces whatsoever and will be a jumble of words. While this honestly isn’t detrimental, it is a tiny bit jarring when reading through stuff and you have to do a double take.
The book is broken down into several sections:
Out West- (read) This section covers the divergence in our history to the Deadlands: Reloaded version of history. Keep in mind that details are just enough to get people interested in playing, and to flesh out ideas and concepts. This is NOT Forgotten Realms. Things like the supernatural monsters, ghost rock, the Texas Rangers, the Agency, etc are all covered in more detail in another section that advises the players not to read any farther so things can be left a mystery and more exciting for them as they play.
Making Heroes- (read) This section is pretty self explanitory… It teaches you how to make cowboys, hucksters (spell casters who make deals with devils and play poker to gain powers or lose bits of their souls), Indian Braves, Shamans, etc.
The one thing I was honestly worried about before I read this book was that it sounded like there were classes in this Campaign Suppliment, broken down like Dungeons and Dragons. Now while that is fine, the thing that I have really enjoyed thus far about Savage Worlds is that there are no classes. You come up with your character concept and choose skills, edges, and hinderences to make that character, much like WoD or Shadowrun.
I’m relieved to say that there are no classes in D:R. If you want to play a huckster, then yes, you have to take the Arcane Background Edge (Magic) to be able to use the spells available to a Huckster, but you can choose your skills, attributes, other edges, flaws, etc as you see fit! This made for a very relieved, and happy Mikey.
Gear and Goods- (read) Good gear in here. They have examples of Mad Science inventions here, and I love that if you roll a one on your trait die, a malfunction occurs, usually a spectaculor flash of light and a big boom that sends people running for cover, while the poor sap who was opporating the contraption is stopping, dropping, and rolling.
System Rules- (read) This area introduces things like Grit (that go along with your characters Guts rolls when encountering horrors and abominations in the Weird West), Fate Chips (like Bennies, but with different colors and purposes), the Way of the Brave fixes combat from Savage Worlds: Revised, but part of this section is obsolete or the same, actually, if you own and have Savage Worlds: Explorer’s Edition (SWEX). Gunfights and Duels are also in this section and I have to say that they really come up with a great system for dualing!
Without gushing over the whole dualing thing, I really want to spend a moment on it, because I really see it as being quite a bit of fun… and dangerous..
Dualing in D:R starts with the gunfighters getting two playing cards, these are their hole cards, then making either a taunt or an intimidation check, the players choice, the loser attempts to draw his gun first with a -2 to his/her shooting check for breaking under pressure.
Now cards are drawn, first a row of three, then 2 more. At any point one of the gunfighters, can shout “Shoot!” This stops the drawing and commences the fighting! Keep in mind I am skipping some of the more intricate details here, but the players can either choose to go for speed (shooting first but taking a -2 penalty) or going for accuracy. If both players go for speed or accuracy, they basically shoot simultaneously.
When the shooting starts the player uses his/her cards with those that have been laid down. The one with the best hand wins! This is where things get brutal, and you could possibly kiss your beloved character goodbye!
When a gunfighter hits, he rolls weapon damage. The player also gets to add a d6 for ever rank their poker hand is better than the other players. Their example is a flush against 2 pair = 3d6 additional damage, which all can ace and add absolutely brutal damage!
I can’t wait to try out dualing with players! I honestly think some of my players are going to think it’s a lark, must like a tavern brawl in DnD, until their character is bleeding and dying with a belly full of lead.
No Man’s Land- (Reading) This section is pretty much for GM’s only. It does have information that is pertinent to the players, that the GM will need to impart on them. A Huckster will get to read, or have the GM tell them their secrets of their class. A character who takes the Agency edge, and is now a member, gets to read about the Agency, and etc.
This section talks about monsters, the supernatural, ghost rock, and all the things a GM needs to completely flush out the world of Deadlands.
The other sections, which I have not read or peeked through yet, I shall review once I am done. There seems to be more secrets about the world there, how everything works, and information on the Eastern part of the now broken and divided United States.
All in all, I can’t wait to run my Steampunk/Old West game using D:R. Here are links to other posts concerning my upcoming campaign.