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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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!