Deadlands – Sean’s Pick, 100518

There’s no discussing Wildest of the West this week without bringing forth the all-time most popular and beloved Western-themed RPG series – DeadlandsWhether you’re a Deadlands Reloaded fan, playing it with Savage Worlds (the globally-popular game system the original game inspired) or you’ve chosen to head back to original territory with the Deadlands Classic 20th Anniversary Editionyou are in most excellent company. It’s “Spaghetti Western With Meat,” it’s the original “Weird West” setting, and it’s inspired multiple sub-genres throughout the adventure game hobby (including a vastly enhanced interest in steampunk).

(From the 20th Anniversary Edition) –

This is the best version of Deadlands Classic, including both the original Player’s Guide and Marshal’s Handbook, with FULL COLOR art lovingly re-colored by Pinnacle’s top artists!

(If you already have the original Deadlands Classic Player’s Guide and Marshal’s Handbooks, this book does notpresent new material. It is a re-release of the original with a little cleanup and all the art re-rendered in gorgeous full-color.)

Deadlands Classic was originally released in 1996. This is the 20th Anniversary Edition, republished in full color in 2016.

Deadlands Classic was a surprise hit when it was originally released at GenCon ’96. The setting, the character types, the art, and even the poker-inspired mechanics combined to make an experience that won every major award the industry had to offer…and then some!

Here are a few reminders about the Classic Deadlands rules:

  • A standard deck of playing cards with the Jokers left in is used for initiative, as well as for hucksters to “deal with the devil” or the Marshal to determine the outcome of your character’s transition to Harrowed. You even use a deck of cards to build your character! Beware the Jokers!
  • A set of poker chips in white, red, and blue mixed in a “Fate Pot” are drawn blind by players and Marshal alike, and when spent, they go back into the pot. You gotta work for those Legend chips, pardner!
  • Dice? Deadlands Classic uses ALL of them. And lots of them. It’s not uncommon to need five or six sets of dice from d4 to d20. And yes, they Ace! When you roll more “1s” than anything else, you go “bust” and your character fails catastrophically. Rolling the bones is not always a metaphor in this game…
  • Part of the character build process is to figure out what scares your sodbuster the most. Your Worst Nightmare can most certainly come true!
  • “Wind” is a derived statistic used rather like hit points. Wounds knock you down a few pegs…
  • The Game Master is called the Marshal, and the characters the posse. Some things have stayed the same! Deadlands Classic also uses Traits, Edges, and Hindrances!

(From the Deadlands Reloaded Player’s Guide) –

Strap on your six-gun and saddle up, partner. There’s Hell to pay and the currency is hot lead!

The year is 1879, but the history is not our own. The guns of the Civil War are silent in a tense cease-fire. California is shattered by the Great Quake Quake of ’68, a superfuel called ghost rock revealed in the new channels and cliff faces. Powerful Rail Barons strive to complete a transcontinental railroad, and the Great Rail Wars exact a bloody toll in the Union, the Confederacy, the Sioux Nation, the Mormon state of Deseret, and the Independent Commonwealth of California.

The Tombstone Epitaph has always been filled with lurid tales of daring desperadoes and deadly drifters, but lately the West’s most-read tabloid claims there’s something more sinister stalking the frontier’s lonely plains: monsters! Fortunately, where there are monsters, there are heroes. Squint-eyed gunfighters, card-chucking hexsligners, savage braves, and righteous padres have all answered the call. And if they fight hard enough, they might just discover the identity of the mysterious Reckoners some say are behind it all.

The Player’s Guide is the core rules book for player of Deadlands Reloaded. It includes new rules for shootouts at high noon, new Edges, Hindrances, and powers, and everything thing a cowpoke needs to begin his journey into the Weird West.

Sean Patrick Fannon
Writer & Game Designer: Shaintar, Star Wars, Savage Rifts, Freedom Squadron, and much more!
Please check out my Patreon and get involved directly with my next projects!

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