Deadlands: The Weird West (2021) - So what do we think?

Best Selling RPGs - Available Now @ DriveThruRPG.com

CT_Phipps

Legendary Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2020
Messages
183
Reaction score
390
1621110714535.png

I've always been a fan of DEADLANDS but I've also felt it was one of those games that cobbled together everything the writer thought was cool and shoved it in a blender before hitting frape. That's actually my jam as well but led to somewhat ill conceived setting-building. Deadlands as it was, was kind of a post-apocalyptic 19th century United States (before they made an EVEN MORE post-apocalyptic United States with "Hell on Earth"). The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are roaming the Earth, monsters are everywhere, and the Civil War ended in a stalemate.

Deadlands at its best was the Wild West equivalent of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. It has all the trappings of the Western genre but turned up to the 11 with goofy heroes and anti-heroes as well as copious amounts of supernatural weirdness. At its worst, the game got caught up in its love affair with its own NPCs and metaplot to the point that it was questionable whether the PCs could impact the setting at all. There was also the fact that its understanding of the Civil War was informed by The Outlaw Josey Wales and Gone with the Wind over, you know, actual history of the South.

A short notation that I grew up in rural Kentucky and the area I grew up in is steeped in Confederate apologia. So much so that it wasn't until 2018 that it was illegal to sell Neo Confederate and Neo-Nazi paraphernalia at the state fair. Everything from history books to memorials were spent trying to make the conflict much more nuanced than it was. "States rights" and "defending a way of life" versus slavery. You know, despite that it was the states rights to own people and the way of life that was made possible by slavery.

It wasn't until the internet that I could just read the Declaration of Independence for the South that said the Confederacy existed to preserve white supremacy and the institution of slavery as its only defining principles. The Confederates were assholes and attempts to portray them as misunderstood heroes from John Carter to Jonah Hex have always been like lionizing the villains in an Indiana Jones movie to me. I say this as someone who had an uncomfortable realization when he visited his great Aunt's enormous "mansion farm."

Yeah. You're not fooling anyone with that euphemism, mom.

Indeed, I don't think I would have enjoyed Deadlands as much as I have over the years if not for the fact I always portrayed its version of the Confederacy as Pulp villains. The Confederates in my game were irredeemable nasties and while you might meet a sexy Southern Belle spy played by Alison Doody, she'd always fall to her death trying to steal the Holy Grail for the Reckoners. However, the continued existence of the Confederacy (even without slavery, especially without slavery), stuck in many a fan's craw.

So the Confederacy has been wiped out in this updated version of the setting. Time travel was involved and I kind of wish more had been presented in the book about it since if the players are ever going to do an epic campaign then going back in time to defeat the Stars and Bars is a great one. Sadly, it seems to have been done by the villain, the Cackler, and Morgana Le Fey versus the heroes. I really don't know why Deadlands has such issues with the PCs winning the day. Still, they've gotten better about this.

The revised timeline has a reunited Union with the exception of larger Native American territories as well as a Mormon Republic. It kind of says how unnecessary the Confederacy surviving was that the setting's history is largely changed. It's a lot more believable now, ghost rock and monsters aside, since the nature of Wild West expansion in real life was driven by the Civil War's fallout. Cinema has always shown Southerners fleeing West but it forgets that a huge chunk of those Southerners were black Americans getting the hell out of Atlanta.

The new setting focuses more on small scale, "vampires are in Tombstone" and "undead outlaws are menacing the locals" than the big epic conflicts of before. I think this is a great idea personally and what Deadlands always should have been about. I don't think they went quite far enough in updating its material even with sidebars explaining why they're still "Indians", Wendigo is still a monster despite many attempts by Native Americans to get Americans to stop using it, and Manitou is still used to refer to demons but the effort is there.

Ironically, one of my biggest complaints is the fact there aren't many Confederate holdouts. If there's a setting where zombie Bedford Forrest should be building a giant mechanical spider so your PCs can blow it up along with his Knights of the Burning Cross terrorists then it should be this one. One of my favorite activities in Red Dead Redemption 2 is sending the Klan and Lemoyne Raiders to Hell. Yet there's no sign of these easy to use supervillains. Perhaps they're overcompensating for fear of screwing up matters of race again.

Gameplay-wise, it's pretty much identical and very fun. Very concise with good rules and only a few changes that streamline an already cinematic action-orientated system. The art is beautiful and I found this to be well-worth getting a hardback copy.
 
Last edited:

Stevethulhu

Studiously Indifferent
Joined
Aug 16, 2017
Messages
3,427
Reaction score
5,045
I always felt that the thing stopping Deadlines from being truly magnificent was the bitty rules system. Dice, OK. Poker chips. And cards. And two paperclips to track numbers on your sheet.

It all got a bit much.

I like the setting, or the idea of the setting. But it should be written with a more modern sensitivity if they release a new edition.

Wasn't there a GURPS adaptation of Deadlands?
 

PolarBlues

Legendary Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2017
Messages
1,135
Reaction score
2,367
Yes, there was a GURPS edition. There was also a D20 edition which was a mess but to date is still the only version I have run/played, and not all the much. I never spent a lot of time thinking about the bigger setting. There was the West, with monsters in shadows and mad scientists. That's all I needed to know.

The adventure I cooked up for it involved Dr Moreau (fromt he H G Well story) kidnapping Charles Darwin. The players mount a rescue only to discover that Darwin is, despite the kidnapping bit, in quite taken by Moreau's research and doestn't want rescuing.
 

CT_Phipps

Legendary Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2020
Messages
183
Reaction score
390
I always felt that the thing stopping Deadlines from being truly magnificent was the bitty rules system. Dice, OK. Poker chips. And cards. And two paperclips to track numbers on your sheet.

It all got a bit much.

I like the setting, or the idea of the setting. But it should be written with a more modern sensitivity if they release a new edition.

Wasn't there a GURPS adaptation of Deadlands?

Savage Worlds newest edition fulfills both I think.

And yes!
 

CT_Phipps

Legendary Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2020
Messages
183
Reaction score
390
For some reason, I just can't be bothered with Savage Worlds. It's an unpopular opinion in these parts, but all the reviews reviews about how good it is just puts me off.

Same with Mythras, which is going to be really unpopular.

If it's any consolation, people who are rules heavy roleplayers will utterly hate the system! :smile: I'm just very light and cinematic.
 

Trippy

Legendary Member
Joined
Aug 20, 2017
Messages
2,983
Reaction score
4,751
I have two options for running weird western games - Deadlands and Down Darker Trails for Call of Cthulhu. I suppose I could also count the western supplement for Werewolf: The Apocalypse - but I don’t really. So, for me it comes down to what sort of game I want to play.

Down Darker Trails is one of the best CoC supplements, and I’d basically use it to run a more serious horror game - playing up the gritty aspect of life in the Wild West also. It is great for that purpose, and the scenarios provided so far are strong. There may be an degree, however, where players still prefer the default 1920s or other eras of play. While it can be run with Pulp Cthulhu rules, I don’t think these rules are as good as those used in Savage Worlds for that type of game.

Savage Worlds: Deadlands is much more jocular in tone and the mechanics are more game-ey and less harsh on the players. It is fun as a beer n pretzels game for me - which is not to be sneezed at. The use of cards and chips gives a nice tactile element to gameplay and gets players into the mood quickly - I’d say it is still the default setting for the Savage Worlds ruleset. The genre is well communicated through the writing and presentation in the books, which are nice and chunky for the game table.
 
Last edited:

Rob Necronomicon

Legendary Member
Joined
May 26, 2018
Messages
491
Reaction score
778
I'm a big fan of DLs and I bought the .pdf but I've not read it yet .Personally, I might adopt the new rules alright, but I probably won't adopt the new lore as I really like the old setting as it is.

That said, I'll have to have a good read of it before I can say that for sure.
 

CT_Phipps

Legendary Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2020
Messages
183
Reaction score
390
I'm a big fan of DLs and I bought the .pdf but I've not read it yet .Personally, I might adopt the new rules alright, but I probably won't adopt the new lore as I really like the old setting as it is.

That said, I'll have to have a good read of it before I can say that for sure.

I never had a problem with the surviving Confederacy but that was because I always used them as Wild West Nazis. Basically, I treated them as people that the players should never have a problem killing. Weirdly, I also had that slavery was "technically" outlawed in the Confederacy but that it was everything short of it and a horribly repressive dictatorship people both white and black were fleeing like North Korea.

Very, very house ruled.
 

Rob Necronomicon

Legendary Member
Joined
May 26, 2018
Messages
491
Reaction score
778
I never had a problem with the surviving Confederacy but that was because I always used them as Wild West Nazis. Basically, I treated them as people that the players should never have a problem killing. Weirdly, I also had that slavery was "technically" outlawed in the Confederacy but that it was everything short of it and a horribly repressive dictatorship people both white and black were fleeing like North Korea.

Very, very house ruled.
Yeah, that certainly works. :smile:

For me personally, I just see all that confederacy material as part of the original game. So, I'm just used to it. Of course, I'm fully aware of the history and despise any of the connotations in the real world's past.

That said, I see anything in game books as just more 'gaming material'. I tend to leave the real world similarities outside the game. So my games don't really get bogged down in my own personal left-wing politics (or someone else's!).

It just makes for a simpler life when playing. :smile:
 

TristramEvans

The Right Hand of Doom
Moderator
Joined
Apr 24, 2017
Messages
21,713
Reaction score
53,524
OK, so it's ridiculous to expect us to be able to discuss Civl War games without discussing the Confederacy, in the same way it would be silly to discuss WW2 wiithout mentioning the nazis. And yes, the Confederacy were fighting for slavery, meaning they were objectively by any moral standard the villains. We've said in the past that "No politics" doesn't apply to history, only current events, and that being a racist is not a "political position"

So, I am re-opening this thread, but just please keep in mind that if you want to discuss the Confederacy in regards to the Civil War, fine, but don't project that any further to controversies of recent years . And let's not conflate everyone living in Confederate states with the slaveowners.

As you were...
 

CT_Phipps

Legendary Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2020
Messages
183
Reaction score
390
I think the new setting info's chief appeal is that Deadlands had gotten a little TOO Gonzo with its timeline of Mad Max and Battlestar Galactica. The new one allows a lot more focus on moving to town to town and dealing with vampires or local toughs. For a game about playing Westerns, you didn't get to do much Western low key gaming.
 
Last edited:

CRKrueger

Eläytyminatör
Joined
Apr 25, 2017
Messages
5,217
Reaction score
9,618
Yeah...but there's a Method to the Madness. The whole point of the American Cold War is to make a starkly divided world much more dangerous than the US/USSR Cold War. Getting rid of slavery doesn't mean "Hey, these guys are good, now", it means the Reckoner-controlled Jefferson Davis realizes by dumping slavery the CSA can get European powers like Britain and France to more openly accept them (or at least trade with them). It means the CSA can stay divided, the Cold War continues, the Hot Wars that break out are much worse, and the Reckoners Plan can come to fruition with Hell on Earth.

Deadlands had a very strong and very specific Metaplot that extended through all 3 game lines chronologically (including Time Travel Shenanigans). It's an alt-history game with a very specific supernatural premise and by today's standards, a far too detailed metaplot. It also has a fairly tongue-in-cheek, Pulp Serial tone which can be played many different ways at different tables.

The OP had some tough times with some Pro-Confederate shitheads, I get it. You want to Compare and Contrast Old Deadlands and New Deadlands, cool. We can do that without dislocating our shoulders from furious back-slapping as we take the brave stand against slavery, can't we?
 

CT_Phipps

Legendary Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2020
Messages
183
Reaction score
390
Yeah...but there's a Method to the Madness. The whole point of the American Cold War is to make a starkly divided world much more dangerous than the US/USSR Cold War. Getting rid of slavery doesn't mean "Hey, these guys are good, now", it means the Reckoner-controlled Jefferson Davis realizes by dumping slavery the CSA can get European powers like Britain and France to more openly accept them (or at least trade with them). It means the CSA can stay divided, the Cold War continues, the Hot Wars that break out are much worse, and the Reckoners Plan can come to fruition with Hell on Earth.

Deadlands had a very strong and very specific Metaplot that extended through all 3 game lines chronologically (including Time Travel Shenanigans). It's an alt-history game with a very specific supernatural premise and by today's standards, a far too detailed metaplot. It also has a fairly tongue-in-cheek, Pulp Serial tone which can be played many different ways at different tables.

The OP had some tough times with some Pro-Confederate shitheads, I get it. You want to Compare and Contrast Old Deadlands and New Deadlands, cool. We can do that without dislocating our shoulders from furious back-slapping as we take the brave stand against slavery, can't we?

Speaking as the OP, I'm happy to discuss the issue purely from the perspective of storytelling benefits and immersion rather than anything relating to the real world context of Confederate apologia. I'll just note that Confederate apologia is a thing and the arguments that the South would ever give it up willingly for practical reasons are RL justifications that can get uncomfortable if you're familiar with them. Harry Turtledove said that he had a similar issue with his famous THE GUNS OF THE SOUTH book that was meant to be anti-racist but got embraced by a lot of assholes that he had to write the Timeline-191 books that had the South go full Nazi Germany.

Sticking strictly to storytelling benefits:

1. I think it's counterintuitive that the Reckoners, supernatural nondenominational Hell Lords, would want the Confederacy to give up slavery to continue the Cold War-esque conflict as an alternative. Whereas even defeated, the Reckoners would have plenty of fear and hate to feed from with the failure of Reconstruction.
2. While there's plenty of spy capers and fun to be had, losing the Confederacy provides a never ending supply of baddies. The KKK and other groups being there to be remnants trying to restore the Confederacy that you can shoot.
3. The metaplot got a lot overcomplicated and much of the Plot Point campaigns that resolved the Stone, Brother Grimme, Raven, and Hellstromme solved a lot of these issues so lower key adventures can be done.

I feel like Deadlands was very effective but the players felt somewhat like afterthoughts the way the game was initially portrayed. The changes made in the lead up to the 2021 game had the huge country-spanning plots dialed down so that the lower conflicts on the ground feel more meaningful.
 

CRKrueger

Eläytyminatör
Joined
Apr 25, 2017
Messages
5,217
Reaction score
9,618
Speaking as the OP, I'm happy to discuss the issue purely from the perspective of storytelling benefits and immersion rather than anything relating to the real world context of Confederate apologia. I'll just note that Confederate apologia is a thing and the arguments that the South would ever give it up willingly for practical reasons are RL justifications that can get uncomfortable if you're familiar with them. Harry Turtledove said that he had a similar issue with his famous THE GUNS OF THE SOUTH book that was meant to be anti-racist but got embraced by a lot of assholes that he had to write the Timeline-191 books that had the South go full Nazi Germany.

Sticking strictly to storytelling benefits:

1. I think it's counterintuitive that the Reckoners, supernatural nondenominational Hell Lords, would want the Confederacy to give up slavery to continue the Cold War-esque conflict as an alternative. Whereas even defeated, the Reckoners would have plenty of fear and hate to feed from with the failure of Reconstruction.
2. While there's plenty of spy capers and fun to be had, losing the Confederacy provides a never ending supply of baddies. The KKK and other groups being there to be remnants trying to restore the Confederacy that you can shoot.
3. The metaplot got a lot overcomplicated and much of the Plot Point campaigns that resolved the Stone, Brother Grimme, Raven, and Hellstromme solved a lot of these issues so lower key adventures can be done.

I feel like Deadlands was very effective but the players felt somewhat like afterthoughts the way the game was initially portrayed. The changes made in the lead up to the 2021 game had the huge country-spanning plots dialed down so that the lower conflicts on the ground feel more meaningful.
1. The Reckoners point isn’t to feed on fear, it’s to cause Global Fear to such a level that WWIII jumps off with WMDs that tear holes in reality and allow the Reckoners to begin the Apocalypse, because that’s who the Reckoners really are, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Also remember, the Horsemen tried this before...and lost. We don’t know the history of that timeline, all we know is that they failed and so, like Skynet, sent a lone assassin to change things. Did they NEED the South to exist and the American Cold War? Who knows, but based on Hell on Earth and the description of the time in between the two games, it certainly was effective.
2. There’s no shortage of things to shoot in Deadlands. There’s no need to invent even more things to shoot, changing the entire setting to do it. You don't need the KKK, there's the Knights of the Golden Circle, a group of Black Magicians that want to resurrect the Old South. That should be Unrepentantly Evil enough to blast away if you gotta Punch Nazis.
3. The metaplot was way complicated, as Time Travel stories tend to be, especially when the metaplot is constructed to launch a whole new game further in the Timeline. It was the 90’s. Metaplot’s what the 90’s did.
4. Remember, every single Deadlands book is separated into two parts, the player section and GM section. The player section is typically written as an in-setting document, usually The Tombstone Epitaph or the writings of it's editor. It's notoriously and comically incorrect and upbeat, frequently to the point of satire. The GM section calls out that the player section is Pro South.

Look, I’ve seen this thread at least a dozen times, and it all comes down to the same thing. Despite everything else in Deadlands, the straw that breaks the camel’s back is the South giving up slavery. That’s the Bridge Too Far because Reasons, and everything else flows from that source.

Read some Alt-History forums sometime, one of the places where people with PhD's in multiple disciplines go to have flame wars. For every World-Renowned Expert in Their Field who thinks a particular historical diversion is plausible and possible, there will be another who thinks it isn't. In Deadlands, the authors just don't pass it off like it's no big deal, they have specific reasons for the South giving up slavery, not the least of which was military and national necessity. They also explain that this causes seething hatred among some of the populace, to the point of turning to black magic. Again, the Reckoners playing the long game, setting up people to grind against each other feeding the worst of their natures, preparing the world for their coming almost two centuries later.

I could really answer every point with a meme that says "Reckoners: Therefore your argument is invalid." I don't like to do that when magic is involved, but Abraham Lincoln, after death has come back as Harrowed and runs the North's secret magical intelligence service and Jefferson Davis is a demonic doppleganger. People power trains with magic coal that screams with the voices of the damned, Chinese pirates have warring kingdoms in the shattered island remains of California and Magic-Users cast spells by playing cards with demons.

We could drill down into whether a Cease-Fire would have led to Lee's adoption of Cleburne's idea reinforcing the Confederate Army with manumitted slaves would have made the elimination of slavery an eventuality...but is this really the game for that?
 

CT_Phipps

Legendary Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2020
Messages
183
Reaction score
390
Look, I’ve seen this thread at least a dozen times, and it all comes down to the same thing. Despite everything else in Deadlands, the straw that breaks the camel’s back is the South giving up slavery. That’s the Bridge Too Far because Reasons, and everything else flows from that source.

Read some Alt-History forums sometime, one of the places where people with PhD's in multiple disciplines go to have flame wars. For every World-Renowned Expert in Their Field who thinks a particular historical diversion is plausible and possible, there will be another who thinks it isn't. In Deadlands, the authors just don't pass it off like it's no big deal, they have specific reasons for the South giving up slavery, not the least of which was military and national necessity. They also explain that this causes seething hatred among some of the populace, to the point of turning to black magic. Again, the Reckoners playing the long game, setting up people to grind against each other feeding the worst of their natures, preparing the world for their coming almost two centuries later.

I could really answer every point with a meme that says "Reckoners: Therefore your argument is invalid." I don't like to do that when magic is involved, but Abraham Lincoln, after death has come back as Harrowed and runs the North's secret magical intelligence service and Jefferson Davis is a demonic doppleganger. People power trains with magic coal that screams with the voices of the damned, Chinese pirates have warring kingdoms in the shattered island remains of California and Magic-Users cast spells by playing cards with demons.

We could drill down into whether a Cease-Fire would have led to Lee's adoption of Cleburne's idea reinforcing the Confederate Army with manumitted slaves would have made the elimination of slavery an eventuality...but is this really the game for that?

Agreed,

I actually cite this as the reason why its best to get rid of the Confederacy because it's just not believable. It's not the Confederacy if they gave up slavery and I remember reading about Cleburne's plan in a magazine in the 1990s that later I found out was the John Birch Society's rag. It's like the Nazis giving up white supremacy of anti-Semitism. It's theoretically possible in some alternate timeline but it's an idea that undercuts everything about and I'm not sure why anyone would want to play in the setting for it.

Because in RL, Cleburne's plan was laughed at and met with, "Why do you think we're fighting for independence?" Which Cleburne didn't know because he was an Irishman with a weirdly misguided sense of patriotism.

The new Deadlands setting just feels more believable and I think works better.
 

CRKrueger

Eläytyminatör
Joined
Apr 25, 2017
Messages
5,217
Reaction score
9,618
Agreed,

I actually cite this as the reason why its best to get rid of the Confederacy because it's just not believable. It's not the Confederacy if they gave up slavery and I remember reading about Cleburne's plan in a magazine in the 1990s that later I found out was the John Birch Society's rag. It's like the Nazis giving up white supremacy of anti-Semitism. It's theoretically possible in some alternate timeline but it's an idea that undercuts everything about and I'm not sure why anyone would want to play in the setting for it.

Because in RL, Cleburne's plan was laughed at and met with, "Why do you think we're fighting for independence?" Which Cleburne didn't know because he was an Irishman with a weirdly misguided sense of patriotism.

The new Deadlands setting just feels more believable and I think works better.
Q.E.D.
 

The Butcher

*evil robotic laugh*
Joined
Apr 29, 2017
Messages
3,907
Reaction score
8,845
OK, so it's ridiculous to expect us to be able to discuss Civl War games without discussing the Confederacy, in the same way it would be silly to discuss WW2 wiithout mentioning the nazis. And yes, the Confederacy were fighting for slavery, meaning they were objectively by any moral standard the villains. We've said in the past that "No politics" doesn't apply to history, only current events, and that being a racist is not a "political position"

So, I am re-opening this thread, but just please keep in mind that if you want to discuss the Confederacy in regards to the Civil War, fine, but don't project that any further to controversies of recent years . And let's not conflate everyone living in Confederate states with the slaveowners.

As you were...
I appreciate the call! Thanks, man.
Yeah...but there's a Method to the Madness. The whole point of the American Cold War is to make a starkly divided world much more dangerous than the US/USSR Cold War. Getting rid of slavery doesn't mean "Hey, these guys are good, now", it means the Reckoner-controlled Jefferson Davis realizes by dumping slavery the CSA can get European powers like Britain and France to more openly accept them (or at least trade with them). It means the CSA can stay divided, the Cold War continues, the Hot Wars that break out are much worse, and the Reckoners Plan can come to fruition with Hell on Earth.

Deadlands had a very strong and very specific Metaplot that extended through all 3 game lines chronologically (including Time Travel Shenanigans). It's an alt-history game with a very specific supernatural premise and by today's standards, a far too detailed metaplot. It also has a fairly tongue-in-cheek, Pulp Serial tone which can be played many different ways at different tables.

The OP had some tough times with some Pro-Confederate shitheads, I get it. You want to Compare and Contrast Old Deadlands and New Deadlands, cool. We can do that without dislocating our shoulders from furious back-slapping as we take the brave stand against slavery, can't we?
My big beef with the persistence of the CSA on the Deadlands setting was the same as my beef with rampant steampunk, or ghost rock (but I repeat myself) or California submerging into the sea or whatever — too much distracting alt-hist that gets in the way of the sort of game I’d run with Deadlands.

Drawing Confederate apologia is just an unfortunate side effect of what I already consider an ill-advised (for game-table-relevant reasons) world building call made what, 25 years ago? It was a different world.
 

CT_Phipps

Legendary Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2020
Messages
183
Reaction score
390
I appreciate the call! Thanks, man.

My big beef with the persistence of the CSA on the Deadlands setting was the same as my beef with rampant steampunk, or ghost rock (but I repeat myself) or California submerging into the sea or whatever — too much distracting alt-hist that gets in the way of the sort of game I’d run with Deadlands.

Drawing Confederate apologia is just an unfortunate side effect of what I already consider an ill-advised (for game-table-relevant reasons) world building call made what, 25 years ago? It was a different world.

I feel like I'd limit my steampunk inventions to things that Tesla-types would invent in barn laboratories to help the heroes like Wild West qs or the products of mad scientist villains. Like John de lancie's character in LEGEND vs. Loveless. If I did make a giant mechanical spider, it would be part of the Remnant of the Confederacy's attempts to TAKE OVER THE WORLD.

1621182905535.png

1621183181462.png

The thing about the Confederacy is oddly the same thing about the Galactic Empire in Star Wars if you ever read the old Star Wars Expanded Universe. You can have plenty of secret bases of them trying to rebuild themselves. Hell, Deadlands is a wacky enough setting that you could have a Confederacy Moon Base due to having a Mi-Go gate or rockets that they are planning to rebuild their nation on (maybe with the help of aliens or Martians). However, you don't need the actual Confederacy Confederacy.

(Oddly, I didn't have a problem with the First Order in the sequels. My problem was the First Order being able to do anything more than terrorist attacks is less interesting than them as Empire 2.0.)

This was brought up when they discussed the SPACE 1899 game incorporating a surviving CSA. The fans said that the agrarian assholes didn't need to continue to exist to have them as a bunch of terrorists menacing the protagonists with their own fortresses and bases. Also, they're not that great as an enemy because the CSA was a non-industrialized power to begin with. The CSA doing magic might work but its a different setting if they had a zombie army versus the North.

Albeit, one I'd play.

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter is also entirely possible to play in Deadlands.
 
Last edited:

Simon Hogwood

Puritan Bearbearian
Joined
Aug 20, 2017
Messages
855
Reaction score
1,707
3. The metaplot was way complicated, as Time Travel stories tend to be, especially when the metaplot is constructed to launch a whole new game further in the Timeline. It was the 90’s. Metaplot’s what the 90’s did.
I'm sure you and everyone one will be thrilled to hear, then, that according to the preview adventure for (the upcoming? I lost track) Deadlands: Dark Ages, the backstory involves a time-travelling Merlin equipping the Round Table with six-shooters. I've still not decided if that's really clever, or really stupid.
Hell, Deadlands is a wacky enough setting that you could have a Confederacy Moon Base due to having a Mi-Go gate or rockets that they are planning to rebuild their nation on (maybe with the help of aliens or Martians). However, you don't need the actual Confederacy Confederacy.
I've often thought that you could have some fun with the Confederacy and the Moonbase Nazi trope by invoking the 1895 Phantom Airship phenomenon.
 

Séadna

Legendary Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2018
Messages
5,775
Reaction score
11,401
The CSA were a big part of our game and I really enjoyed the Cold War aspects CRKrueger CRKrueger mentioned, even more so in Deadlands: Noir where you could get proper 50s superscience going and you had the two nations more actively spying on each other.

sent a lone assassin to change things
I think you mean the best NPC ever created.

StonePromo.png
 

CT_Phipps

Legendary Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2020
Messages
183
Reaction score
390
I'm sure you and everyone one will be thrilled to hear, then, that according to the preview adventure for (the upcoming? I lost track) Deadlands: Dark Ages, the backstory involves a time-travelling Merlin equipping the Round Table with six-shooters. I've still not decided if that's really clever, or really stupid.

I've often thought that you could have some fun with the Confederacy and the Moonbase Nazi trope by invoking the 1895 Phantom Airship phenomenon.

My reaction to the Morgana Effect can be summarized in two points:

1. Getting rid of the Confederacy via time travel isn't such a bad idea.

2. Why the FUCK is this not an adventure? The PCs destroying the Confederacy would be awesome as a campaign.
 

E-Rocker

Not a goose
Joined
Mar 25, 2019
Messages
1,971
Reaction score
3,883
I'm sure you and everyone one will be thrilled to hear, then, that according to the preview adventure for (the upcoming? I lost track) Deadlands: Dark Ages, the backstory involves a time-travelling Merlin equipping the Round Table with six-shooters. I've still not decided if that's really clever, or really stupid.

Why not both? :smile:
 

E-Rocker

Not a goose
Joined
Mar 25, 2019
Messages
1,971
Reaction score
3,883
Picked up the boxed set this afternoon. I'll crack it open once I've worked on my taxes a bit.
 

The Butcher

*evil robotic laugh*
Joined
Apr 29, 2017
Messages
3,907
Reaction score
8,845
I'm sure you and everyone one will be thrilled to hear, then, that according to the preview adventure for (the upcoming? I lost track) Deadlands: Dark Ages, the backstory involves a time-travelling Merlin equipping the Round Table with six-shooters. I've still not decided if that's really clever, or really stupid.
I henceforth dub this scenario “the reverse Murlynd.”
 

sureshot

Legendary Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2018
Messages
236
Reaction score
305
I guess it depends on the style of rpg I am running or using, I probably would leave in the Confederacy if I ran Deadlands. Or Nazis in a World War 2 campaign. Though I would make sure the majority of the players are comfortable with each as an element in the campaign.

Then run some other rpg as I am on no mood to rewrite both out of the campaigns. For me anyway simpler to run another different RPG.

I take what Tutrledove stories with a grain of salt do what galaxy sized. In the series he does have the Confederates come of as Nacis yet also does die thing else with another faction which makes no sense. I won’t go into it because I think it might be too political.
 
Last edited:

CT_Phipps

Legendary Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2020
Messages
183
Reaction score
390
I henceforth dub this scenario “the reverse Murlynd.”

Part of what was killing previous editions of Savage Worlds was the Drizzt Do'Urden/Elminster/Divis Mal obsession with the Servitors. There was a weird thing in the 90s where the creators of gameworlds had this idea that players were irrelevant to the story and actively made their characters immortal. Like, in Ravenloft, it was actually impossible to kill a lot of the Dark Lords. It's bizarre because why would you want to establish that it was impossible by the rules to change a campaign setting at one's home table.

Hence bizarre things like the fact Stone was a gunslinger who could never be killed save by the bullets that killed him, which were still inside him. They also had statements like, "The Cackler's origins must be kept secret from players so we're not telling, you, the Storyteller." It got corrected when they released the four Plot Point campaigns to kill or fuck up the Servitors and that felt like a MASSIVE Author's Saving Throw vs. Boredom.

However, even here, it's the Cackler--who is the Deadlands version of the Joker mind you--who ultimately causes the Confederacy to be wiped out.

Oh and he's Mordred le Fay.
 

sureshot

Legendary Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2018
Messages
236
Reaction score
305
Pinnacle bad habit at least in earlier editions of some of their RPGs (Brave New World, Deadlands ) was “ here is some setting information for the players though we are not even going to tell the GM what they need to know” was and is still annoying to say the least. I know in later editions they fixed that it should have never happen in the first place.
 
Last edited:

Séadna

Legendary Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2018
Messages
5,775
Reaction score
11,401
Hence bizarre things like the fact Stone was a gunslinger who could never be killed save by the bullets that killed him, which were still inside him
They must have changed that at some point. In what I have Young Stone can be killed by the bullets his own men shot him with at Gettysburg, which were extracted from his corpse and through a sequence of events end up in the stomach of a zombie alligator.
Old Stone can only be killed by bullets shot from his own hand.

"The Cackler's origins must be kept secret from players so we're not telling, you, the Storyteller." It got corrected when they released the four Plot Point campaigns to kill or fuck up the Servitors and that felt like a MASSIVE Author's Saving Throw vs. Boredom.

However, even here, it's the Cackler--who is the Deadlands version of the Joker mind you--who ultimately causes the Confederacy to be wiped out.

Oh and he's Mordred le Fay.
Okay I have to get this out. It's a harmless but funny thing. In the comic they released for the Cackler's origins there is this scene when he is trying to resurrect Morgan le Fey:

Screenshot_2021-05-17 Deadlands-The-Cackler-Full-Book-Kickstarter-Edition pdf.jpg

I know what they're trying to do. They think "Ardú, mo mháthair! Ardú!" means:
"Rise, my mother! Rise!"

It actually means:
"My mother is an erection! An erection!"

Unless of course the Cackler has darker plans than I think :ooh:
 
Last edited:

CT_Phipps

Legendary Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2020
Messages
183
Reaction score
390
They must have changed that at some point. In what I have Young Stone can be killed by the bullets his own men shot him with at Gettysburg, which were extracted from his corpse and through a sequence of events end up in the stomach of a zombie alligator.
Old Stone can only be killed by bullets shot from his own hand.


Okay, I've been sitting on this for a while and I have to get it out. In the comic they released for the Cackler's origins there is this scene when he is trying to resurrect Morgan le Fey:

View attachment 30941

I know what they're trying to do. They think "Ardú, mo mháthair! Ardú!" means:
"Rise, my mother! Rise!"

It actually means:
"My mother is an erection! An erection!"

Unless of course the Cackler has darker plans than I think :ooh:

No, you're right about the "methods to kill stone." My point stands, though, about, "ridiculous convoluted ways to kill the NPC who is meant to be a gunslinger." I think it was best summarized by a player character who pointed out that the Deadlands writers thought Stone was the ultimate badass but he's actually closer to the Man in Black in Westworld. He's using God Mode and invincibility cheats so he's not actually a badass whatsoever. He's just a guy running around shooting people that can't hurt him back.

And yes, that is a hilarious mistranslation. I will say that Mordred and Morgana having an incestuous relationship is hardly a new interpretation, though.

I need to read the Cackler comic sometime.
 

Séadna

Legendary Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2018
Messages
5,775
Reaction score
11,401
No, you're right about the "methods to kill stone." My point stands, though, about, "ridiculous convoluted ways to kill the NPC who is meant to be a gunslinger." I think it was best summarized by a player character who pointed out that the Deadlands writers thought Stone was the ultimate badass but he's actually closer to the Man in Black in Westworld. He's using God Mode and invincibility cheats so he's not actually a badass whatsoever. He's just a guy running around shooting people that can't hurt him back.
Yeah that's a nice way of looking at it. To match in with what you say his background isn't really a gunslinger's background, he didn't grow up in the Wild West as such, but on a small antebellum farm and then worked in the army pre-1850s.
 

CRKrueger

Eläytyminatör
Joined
Apr 25, 2017
Messages
5,217
Reaction score
9,618
I'm sure you and everyone one will be thrilled to hear, then, that according to the preview adventure for (the upcoming? I lost track) Deadlands: Dark Ages, the backstory involves a time-travelling Merlin equipping the Round Table with six-shooters. I've still not decided if that's really clever, or really stupid.

I've often thought that you could have some fun with the Confederacy and the Moonbase Nazi trope by invoking the 1895 Phantom Airship phenomenon.
Really, really stupid I’m thinking. :trigger:
 

CT_Phipps

Legendary Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2020
Messages
183
Reaction score
390
Really, really stupid I’m thinking. :trigger:

The longer version is that the Cackler, who is basically zombie cowboy Joker, is actually Medreut/Mordred Le Fey. Medreut planned to use time travel to go back in time and resurrect his dead mother because he's a mamma's boy no matter what reality he's in. This results in the Twilight Legion, the secret society of do gooders who fight evil, getting knowledge of the future. They proceed to use this to fuck with the Confederacy in the future even if it's not enough to stop Raven from awakening the Reckoners.

My version?

In my games, I have the much-much simpler adventure planned of the PCs getting a time machine built for them by H.G. Wells' best friend and they use it to go back in time to detonate a ghost rock bomb in the Roswell Confederate R&D facility where the CSA has assembled all their war machines, mad scientists, and evil wizards like a Southern Hydra base. I fully expect a total party kill but it won't matter because if they successfully detonate the bomb then the Confederacy will lose the Civil War without their weird tech, monsters, and utter lack of scruples produced devices.

Then the PCs will play their temporarily changed counterparts. This is how I plan to open my campaign.
 

tenbones

Grand Poobah of the D.O.N.G.
Joined
May 31, 2018
Messages
2,425
Reaction score
5,113
I'm a big fan of Deadlands as a setting. I never liked the metaplot. Any of it.

I have zero need for it. I like Cowboys and Supernatural stuff. I don't need the whole WoD-like time-table to Gehenna thing. I don't need the Cackler, or anything else. I just as soon say the Natives fucked up, and did a mini-Rifts setup.

Confederacy - Never was a problem at my table. I don't label things like the Confederacy or the Nazi's or the Empire, or the Coalition as Evil for Evil's sake. Are they bad guys? Sure. But the point of using them should be contextualized for the purpose of their existence at all. I don't let the designers of a game intrude upon the needs for play. I like playing in the dark-grey zone where people on the wrong side can redeem themselves.

But that may not be everyone's cup of tea. check. But to me writing it out of the game based on alt-history, because of people's generalized sensitivities to reality is leaving some awful good gaming fodder on the floor.

The whole point of alt-history to play with it.
 

CT_Phipps

Legendary Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2020
Messages
183
Reaction score
390
But that may not be everyone's cup of tea. check. But to me writing it out of the game based on alt-history, because of people's generalized sensitivities to reality is leaving some awful good gaming fodder on the floor.

The whole point of alt-history to play with it.

Versus sensitivities, I'd argue the biggest argument for it being retconned is it's bad writing. The problem of its Alt-History timeline in its original form isn't racism, it's that it doesn't make a lick of sense. The Confederacy was founded for the purposes of white supremacy and slavery (it's in their declaration of independence if you want a link). It wouldn't want to split from the Union if those weren't a thing.

The story was stated that it wanted to tell a post-racial, post-sexism inclusive story for people to play around in so pretending the Confederacy got woke is going to be insane. It also deprives the West of famous stories about guys leaving to the West because Reconstruction South is kind of horrible with its terrorists as well as general misery from a radicalized populace. Jesse James as a villain depends on him being a guy fighting the Union because he's a failed Confederate. If it's still around he's not going to be fighting.

If you want a Cold War spy thriller with the Union vs. a powerful rival then Mexico is right there.

People love exploring Alt-History but the more you know about history, the less sense the original setting makes. Basically akin to Ronald Reagan as the Communist Dictator of Alt-History Soviet America.
 
Last edited:
Cthulhu Mythos - Available Now @ DriveThruRPG.com
Top