Monthly Archives: August 2009

Deadlands Reloaded/Steampunk Kickoff! Part Two!

Sunday was game day, and marked the start of our Deadlands Reloaded/Steampunk game. I had a very full house yesterday, with a total of 7 players, a dog, two kittens, and myself… so it was damned cramped in my house.

My Hottie, Angie.  I think she threatened me with bodily harm should this end up on the net.

My Hottie, Angie. I think she threatened me with bodily harm should this end up on the net.

I started off by explaining the back-story of Deadlands and gave all the players the “need to know” history of the game, and peeks at other info to give them a sense of how the world works.. A little metagame knowledge never hurts.

We them moved to character creation, which in all honesty took way longer that I had anticipated, but I’m not complaining because it really was a treat at the same time. I guess it would help if I explained.

Left to Right: John, Liam, Jack

Left to Right: John, Liam, Jack

I started by having everyone choose their Hindrances and Edges first, since that showed them what the requirements were so they could plan out what they needed to put in attributes and skills later. Now I have one DL:R book and I have one Savage Worlds Explorer’s Edition (SWEX) book. Between six people (one player had made his char the night before) this took quite awhile. I had planned for an hour… I was wrong. With all the joking, outside talking, and actual questions about how the system works (none of them had played SW before, except for one quick combat play test), it took the better part of 3 hours to make all the characters.

Yes, I know… So much for quick and easy character creation. Buuuuuttt. Now that they know the system and if one of the players characters should bite the dust, it’s just going to be them with the book, and they’ll be way more familiar with the system, so I foresee it going way faster.

The rewarding part was watching the players get excited about the Hindrances and Edges system and coming up with creative ways on how they would play out.

Jack wanted to have a hindrance that wasn’t in the book, so we were able to make one up pretty easily. I’ll put it here if someone wants to steal it.

*Weak Stomach (Major): You can’t stand seeing people die. You can like to yourself if you don’t see it, even if you caused it (such as setting explosives to go off). If you see someone die you must make a Vigor check (DC 4) or become shaken. If you see someone die and you are already shaken you become fatigued -1, failure again goes to -2. One more failure and you pass out.

And now for the characters:
Angie– She is an exhibitionist Sharpshooter and Rifleman, wanting to show off her skill in the Weird West. Her clothes and her appearance must be perfect, even when bullets are flying.
Kinal– She is aspiring or conspiring to become Sheriff of a boomtown.
Jack– A demolitionist with a weak stomach.
Omar– A martial artist with amnesia. Unbeknownst to him, an enemy stalks him from the shadows.
John– A saber wielding mean spirited fighter.
Liam– An obese priest who only will heal those of the Catholic faith. May heal people of other Christian faiths as an act of charity work.
Drew– A Huckster (gambling arcane caster) with hillbilly blood running through his veins who is a professional thief.

There are other edges and hindrances with each character that makes the flavor all the better. Angie is also curious. Jack is cautious. Liam is clueless.

Saddle Up!

Crude mapping, but it works in a hurry!

Crude mapping, but it works in a hurry!

With characters created and the players all set, we started the game.

I had sent an email to all the players explaining that they were all on a train heading to Tombstone, AZ and that for the start of the game they needed to come up with a reason WHY they were on that train and heading to Tombstone. I told them I didn’t require a back-story for the character since that could come later once we got a feel for everything.

On the train the characters heard a chime and coming over the pipe communication system, the conductor was heard, “15 minutes to Tombstone.. 15 minutes to Tombstone.. Please gather all belongings and be prepared to disembark.”

As the chime sounded to announce the end of the announcement, men in each of the 4 passenger cars stood up, putting bandanas over their faces, and drew guns, with rifleman covering the exits. “Alright! This is a stick up! Throw your money on the floor and reach for some sky!”

Then I handed out initiative cards (this was a big hit as you can see from all my players).

Left to Right: Omar, Kinal, Angie

Left to Right: Omar, Kinal, Angie

I made this combat easy because I wanted to give everyone a feel for the combat system without over powering them or making them feel ineffective.

The combat went really well with all the players utilizing the environment (the train seats) as cover. Rising up to take a pot shot at the robbers and then diving back down. A couple of the characters got hit and burned a fate chip to soak up some or all of the damage.

Drew- I don't know why this turned out so blurry...

Drew- I don't know why this turned out so blurry...

Sadly we ran out of time and I had to end the fight before it was done, although the players were clearly the victors. When we pick up in two weeks, we will continue right where we left off with the resolution of the fight and the train arriving in Tombstone!

Apparently I'm the only sane one among my players...

Apparently I'm the only sane one among my players...


Deadlands Reloaded/Steampunk Kickoff! Part One

So to set the stage for my DL:R/SP game I’ve decided to show a few changes I’ve made to certain things in Deadlands. I know I know.. People frown on that sometimes, but.. I don’t give a shit.

So here they are:

Changes made at game start

• Some of the powers that aren’t available to certain spell casters are now available
• Hucksters, Shamans, and Mad Scientists now have access to all powers of their rank. They cannot cast spells outside of their rank. This change still gives Blessed and Voodoo an edge. Hucksters, Shamans, and Mad Scientists are still limited to their power points and must take Edges to buff those up.
• A new form of Steam driven technology has recently been invented by two scientists. Dr. William Montgomery (London, Great Britain) and Dr. Teddy Grekel (New York City, NY). Dr. Montgomery traveled to America after he read a paper on Dr. Grekel’s theories on a cleaner source of steam energy and not relying on Ghost Rock. Both feel that Ghost Rock cannot be a natural element and argue against mans growing dependency on it. The two have managed to create a cleaner source of steam energy powered by coal, coke, oil, and water- that burns better and cleaner than Ghost Rock. They have also managed to invent steam powered rail car and dirigibles, although there are only 3 trains, and 10 dirigibles (although more of each are in production). They both occupy a laboratory in NYC.
o Why hasn’t the world gotten behind this new source of energy? The rail wars and barons and other areas have too much invested in Ghost Rock and going Westward to back out now. Also this new form of steam energy takes longer to get to the critical point to power the vehicles and it is more expensive. (In game mechanics a power (Mad Science that costs one power point would cost 3 using new steam power). Recently the world received a shock as Dr. William Montgomery went missing, apparently kidnapped from his home.

Powers by casting type- added from original list

Blessed- Blast, Bolt, Burst, Fear (Blessed- non-Voodoo)- Only works on evil/outsider targets. Shows them what awaits them for their evil ways. Gambler, Hunch, Invisibility, Obscure, Telekinesis, Teleport, Vision Quest (commune with chosen God).
Huckster- Zombie.
Mad Scientist- Hunch, Shape Change.
Martial Artist- Barrier, Invisibility.
Shaman- Barrier, Blast, Bolt, Burrow (redone-makes no sense that a natural caster doesn’t get the benefit of this), Burst, Gambler, Hunch, Inspiration, Invisibility, Light, Obscure, Stun, Telekinesis.


I added the clean Steam Punk because I didn’t want everything to be driven by Ghost Rock and I thought it would be fun to add another faucet to the Railwars. Being that it is a fledgling operation it could, due to actions by players or DM, go under, be taken over, thrive, become corrupt, etc. I think this is a fun idea and gives more options for the players.


As for the spells, my reasons were that some of them didn’t seem right to me not to be included to the class. Especially since in the normal SWEX every magical background could cast every spell. While I understand that in DL:R that isn’t the case, some of the decisions just didn’t make sense. Sooooo I changed it.

These changes allow the players to have a larger arsenal, and be more creative, and I’m all about that. We only get to game once to twice a month so I am all about just having as much fun as possible without overly limiting shit or complicating it.

Mad Scientist in Deadlands: Reloaded

Mad Scientist in Deadlands: Reloaded

So stay tuned for Part 2 on Monday where we delve into the session and the possible lessons learned.

Steal my Map!!

If you want a bigger copy, just let me know

If you want a bigger copy, just let me know

First I have to give credit where it is absolutely due! This isn’t my map. I didn’t make it. I found it here, while I’ve been pouring through the internet looking for anything Old West and Steampunk. I especially started reading through everything Tombstone once I decided that is where my Deadlands: Reloaded game would start.

Second I have to thank ChattyDM, since it was he who suggested the title of this blog when I mentioned it to him.

A Map, A Map… My liver… well maybe not that, but something.. for a map

I poured through pages and pages for a decent map of Tombstone, anywhere from years 1877-1882 (afterwards really didn’t interest me since much of Tombstone was burned down in a horrible fire in 1882), but really couldn’t find anything.

Finally I settled on this map. After finding a map I made the decision, while it really has no effect on game, that I wanted some amount of historical background for the map and boomtown. So I found some of the buisnesses of that day (in all honest most are from around 1881-82 since I found most mentioned in dealing with Wyatt Earp and the OK Corral shooting).

Which is something that can be seen on this map as it indicates where the shooting happened and where Morgan and Virgil were shot afterwards.

If you can’t see the map well and would like to use it, I can email you a better, larger copy.

Any thing that has “*” was a real business in Tombstone. I tired to find real owners of the business, but that was really difficult, but I did incorporate the history of the building into some of the description, if I could.

Obviously things on this map aren’t 100% accurate, not even close. Mostly it’s info that I pieced together by reading various sites. The locations of the “*” are as close as I could pinpoint by the discrptions I could find.

Everything else is made up by me (business wise).

The Characters: John Behan, Billy Breakenridge, Fred White, Henry Hooker are all real people who lived during that time period. I don’t know if Milt Joyce was an actul person, but he was in the Tombstone movie, so I can’t take credit for him.

Any others were made up by myself. Feel free to use this map if your planning on running a Deadlands game, or anything else!

Here is the key
1. Campbell and Hatch Billiard Parlor* -Owned and operated by Thomas Campbell and Jimmy Hatch. The place has 4 Billiard tables and a saloon.
2. Hafford’s Saloon* -Ran by Strat Hafford (inherited) and his wife Peergie. Has 2 bedrooms for rent, small food supply.
3. The Oriental* -Owned and operated by Milt Joyce. Very popular place in Tombstone. High class. Gambling (Poker and Faroh), music, and entertainment.
4. Golden Eagle Brewery* -Small saloon and brewery founded at beginning of Tombstone’s settlement. The brewery is actually located in the building behind the Saloon. Operated by Jimmy “Gums” MaGee.
5. Grand Hotel* -Owned by developers in NYC. Managed by Louis Sayville. An interesting person there- The Swamper is an honest employee (janitor and handyman) who is very friendly, knows most guests at the hotel and always lends them an ear.
6. Spangenberg’s Gunsmith Shop* -Owned by Daniel “Batty” Spangenberg (rumored to be an inventor of sorts). Ol’ “Batty” may seem out of sorts to most of the folks in Tombstone, but they happily take their guns to him for repairs or modifications, and people are always fascinated by some of the contraptions in his shop.
7. Henry Hooker’s Feed and Horse Shop– Owned by Henry Hooker who owns the Sierra Bonita Ranch that occupies land on both Graham and Cochise counties.
8. The General Store– Ma and Pa shop owned by Gertrude O’Hara (widow) and her son Raymond. All general wares can be found here.
9. Confederate Post Office– Mail can go through here to any Southern Territory. Cheaper, but honestly less reliable than Pony Express.
10. Pony Express– More expensive than CPO, but Pony Express will go into Union and the Disputed Territories (at a higher price).
11. Madam Clara’s Brothel– Madam Clara is a lady in action and reputation. Her girls are all well treated and cared for. People who have gone on the wrong side of her end up having strange things happen to them, some even disappear completely. No one will shy away from her girls though, and most are smart enough to treat them right, and leave a generous tip.
12. Ace in the Hole– This small dive gambling hall and saloon tailors to the seeder happenings in Tombstone, from cattle rustling, hookers, and black market ghost rock and weapon trading.
13. Cheng’s Opium Den– Old Man Cheng doesn’t say much, and most people prefer it that way, cause he usually tells horrible stories of the Weird West too extreme to believed, at least that’s what everyone hopes. Usually people just come to Cheng’s for some cheap opium.
14. Public Bath House– Separated into Male and Female areas, this decent looking building houses a place for people to get clean at a fair price while sipping on some bourbon and smoking a cigar. This is actually owned by the city of Tombstone, and they collect a bit of profit from it.
15. Ming Lee’s– If you have a craving for a Chinese girl, then Ming Lee’s is your place. She has some of the most beautiful and exotic girls one could behold. Many are actually slaves or prisoners shipped in from Triad in Shan Fran. Ming Lee also deals in drugs, acupuncture, mystical readings, and other various activities.
16. The Dragon– The Dragon is a small dojo where a fierce man aptly called, The Dragon resides. No one knows the history of the Dragon, save that he has united the people of the Chinese District and that he is an amazing martial artist.
17. Bird Cage Theater*– The famous Bird Cage Theater hosts some amazing theatrical talents from all over, including from Far East.
18. Marshal’s Office and Jail– Marshal Fred White and his sole deputy Spencer Walker keep law as much as they can without stepping on the Cowboy Gangs toes.
19. Tombstone Courthouse*– The Tombstone Courthouse has 2 courtrooms and one trial area outside where the gallows sit right beside the defendant, usually because he’s only there for a moment before a short drop and a sudden stop. Less serious crimes usually amount to a fine and/or some time spent working in a Tombstone owned mine.
20. County Sheriff’s Office– County Sheriff John Behan and his deputy Billy Breakenridge help keep law over Cochise County. In reality, Behan does little more than badger people for taxes and step aside and allow the Cowboy gang to do pretty much whatever they please. Billy is more honest, but also turns a blind eye to the Cowboy’s doings in the hopes of earning some adoration and friendship from them.
21. Jerry Johnson’s Place for Odd Jobs– Jerry Johnson usually has an odd job to be done around Tombstone, whether it is fixing up something in the town, venturing to a mine to make sure it is running smoothly, escorting some product to a far off destination, or accept a job as a temporary Pony Express agent, he is your man to go to.
22. Lexington Beef Plant– Lexington also has a Livery Stable, but don’t keep your horse or cattle there too long, since unclaimed property usually ends up on some places menu.
23. Confederate Army Barracks– When the confederate Wagon Train or marching army arrive in Tombstone, they stay at this small barracks. The barracks has a small amount of supplies on hand for the men to restock and after a quick break, head out. At any time there is usually only 1-5 men guarding the barracks. Most people are smart enough to leave it alone though, since most don’t want the might of the Confederate Army to come down on Tombstone like the hammer of a six shooter.

Canon problems in a Star Wars campaign, Part Two

If your just tuning in, here is part one of the post.

Also check out this Penny Arcade strip.. Cracks me up.. Both are me, so I’m double screwed.
My players aren’t Star Wars nuts like me…

What a shocker right? Most of my friends have a love for Star Wars, the Holy Trilogy, or the Legacy or older comics, but really I’m the only one that has a deep deep DEEP love for Star Wars ( I have Star Wars tattoos for fuck sake).

Now as I mentioned in the previous post that with my players I usually avoid the whole canon argument, and this is because they don’t know Star Wars like I do. So this is both good and can be frustrating (in really a minor way). In the game I was running in the New Republic area, they eventually ran into Booster Terrik. Almost anyone who has read the expanded universe books, knows who Booster is.. My players, no. This did not illicit any type of response, which I expected and was prepared for.

Yes it is a little frustrating, yes, but not horrible. I just had to explain a very brief history that he was a major shaker in liberating Coruscant from the Empire, etc. So they knew he was important. They also learned his was more than an old man when a player insulted his daughter to his face. Got the beat down.

This is easier because I don’t have to worry about players trying to take a pot shot at him just to test the waters, or try using player knowledge as a character trying to glimmer some information that they wouldn’t have access to or knowledge of.

Running a Star Wars game is a pain in the ass!

It is very true that it can be, but for many people and gamers Star Wars holds a very special place in their hearts and this can make the games really rewarding.

Star Wars has a rich history and the expanded universe is awesome (when it isn’t being contradicted and deconstructed by a maniacal megalomaniac)

A face of evil?

A face of evil?

So if the Star Wars universe is somewhere you are wanting to run a game, and you are worried about canon and player conflict, all you have to do is have the birds and the bees talk about how the canon will be handled in your story and why. The players shouldn’t feel hindered by this because, yes it is their story, but a selfish/poorly made choices can ruin it all for everyone, and generally no player wants that to happen!

Hrm.. All this Star Wars talk makes me thing in the coming months I should run another campaign.. *gears start turning*

Canon problems in a Star Wars campaign, Part One

Oooooh..  Sexy

Oooooh.. Sexy

*editing after it was brought to my attention that 1st level GM is a she, not a he.. Sorry^_^

The other day I had the pleasure of stumbling across a blog dealing with one of my favorite subjects… STAR WARS! Reading through her three blog posts (1st, 2nd, 3rd) about this subject made me want to throw in my thoughts on the subject.

As 1st Level GM states, when choosing a Star Wars game, the absolute first thing that defines the game that you are going to play is “When” in the Star Wars continuity. Where really is a 2nd detail since, given the time, that planet may or may not exist, or the dynamic of it my change drastically.

Oh God.. They’ve got their briefcase in hand…

Yep.. Canon or continuity lawyers are a pain in the ass. That is a major problem when running a game in a beloved setting such as Star Wars or Lord of the Rings. People who play in this type of game generally know their shit and for some of them, it really does turn into, sadly, a dick waving contest.

I’ve played in Star Wars games in the past where the GM made a slight error about something or another, and honestly, most of us didn’t care, but there was the player who had to do the, “Umm.. No.. Actually it was this way instead of that..” Basically think of the comic book dealer in the Simpsons..

What to do, what to do?

So when it comes down to it, you may want to avoid having that kind of person in your game. It can also be avoided in the first place (hopefully). The last Star Wars game I ran was set in the New Republic, right before the Yuuzhan Vong invasion.

I like this time period, it has the Jedi coming back, yet they are constantly facing adversity, there is a galaxy shaking event coming right around the corner.

When I decided to run a Star Wars game, I knew I didn’t want to run it during the Original Trilogy time period because I didn’t want to base my players around those events. I knew my players wouldn’t mind, but several of them wanted to be/try Jedi and I knew in the Rebellion Era that wouldn’t fly.

Another reason was because I loathe the prequel trilogy. I cry myself to sleep every night because of what those movies have done to erode the very foundation of my soul. Just kidding. Maybe.

Anyways, when I decided when I wanted the game to take place, I got my players together and had a “talk” with them about it. I told them the setting, that they would be on a freelance pirate ship, that one of the players father owned, and as a gift he was given his own Corellian Corvette. Each of the other players were given a X-Wing. I did this because I wanted them to have fun on the ground and in space.

The talk also consisted of the “canon” lecture. I said canon was there, and I would go by it, but to avoid the whole canon argument (although with these players, if that happened it would be ALL my fault- more on this in a moment) that they really wouldn’t be around events that could damage continuity.

I usually choose this option, and most players are happy with it. My main reason is because there is usually some player who wants to be a wild card either just to annoy the GM or because they are that much of a douche bag… whatever the case I tend to steer clear from actually movie/canon events.

I’ve been in a game where we were on Geonosis fighting along side the other Jedi when one of the players, playing a Bounty Hunter asks where Mace Windu was, and suddenly tried to gun him down to win favor with Jango and keep him from dying. The GM said that he shouldn’t do that, and the players said not to because it had no point on the game and would ruin things, but he adamantly wanted to do it, so he tried, and guess what.. he died. What a shock.

I don’t want to make this post huge, so I’ll continue it tomorrow!

I seriously love this picture!

I seriously love this picture!

Battle of the Dice Bags!

My g/f makes pretty things.

My g/f makes pretty things.

We were at a hobby shop the other day and we saw some hand knitted dice bags for sale. My girlfriend is pretty crafty and took a look at them, and instantly balked at the monstrous price of $60! This was a bag that would hold about 3 sets of dice.. That’s it.

So she got it in her head to make some nice dice bags for a fair price. Now her question that I pose to you is, where should she try to sell her wares. She was thinking Ebay and Etsy, but are there any other places that would be an appropriate place to try to show case them?

Thanks much for the suggestions!

Steampunk/Weird West Savage Worlds Game Getting Ready to Saddle Up!

My Steampunk/Deadlands Reloaded game is going to jump start on 8/30 and I’ve been sending out emails to my players telling they need to think of what kind of character they want to play. And from the feedback I’ve received, some good ideas are flowing.

Once we get together and, in person, I can describe how DL:R is plus adding the steampunk feel, gadgets, etc, I’m sure that some of their concepts will change.

I think that my players are really excited about Savage Worlds after hearing me talk so much about it, and doing two little play tests (1 and 2) with the system.

The thing that really appeals to my group the most, I think, is that they aren’t limited to a class and its archetypical behavior.

I’m really excited because none of my players have played in this type of setting before, and it has honestly been a long time since I’ve ran anything aside from Dungeons and Dragons (3.5) or the occasional one shot Vampire or All Flesh Must Be Eaten game.

This will be a nice change of pace!

I have the first adventure almost full written, and the session will start with action right in their faces, in the boomtown of Tombstone.

Something that I was recently turned on to is Heroscape. Not as playing the game itself, but using the terrain for role-playing. I’m gonna head to one of my LGS and see if they carry it. If not, I shall have to order it from Amazon. Do any other players/GMs have experience using Heroscape as a battlemap? What are your thoughts on it?

I would put more about what is going to happen during the first sessions, but my players read this blog.. (at least they should be) and I don’t want them to have a advanced warning… but I will put a recap of the session up on Monday 8/31.

Lastly does anyone know of any good old maps of Tombstone that don’t suck or have watermarks all over them? Cause I’m finding crap on my searches on the net.