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

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Séadna

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Deadlands was actually the first game I was aware of and made use of the metaplot.

We played a long campaign in each of the four settings (Wild West, Noir, Hell on Earth and Lost Colony) and as characters were at the end of the progression system at the end of the campaign the metaplot stuff worked its way in naturally. At the early and mid game it was just "cowboys and ghosts" but the setting level details could actually be used in a gameable way for the end game.

Although I know the Savage Worlds version I played didn't quite have metaplot in the comic book 90s sense that Deadlands Classic did.
 
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E-Rocker

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Just finished reading the adventure, Showdown at Sundown, that is included in the boxed set. It's pretty cool. I typically only run adventures of my own devising, but I would be interested in giving this one a try.

Since I love Westerns and horror, but don't particularly care for Steampunk, I'm glad that the Steampunk elements in the adventure are minor and easily excised.
 

CT_Phipps

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Just finished reading the adventure, Showdown at Sundown, that is included in the boxed set. It's pretty cool. I typically only run adventures of my own devising, but I would be interested in giving this one a try.

Since I love Westerns and horror, but don't particularly care for Steampunk, I'm glad that the Steampunk elements in the adventure are minor and easily excised.

I haven't read that yet. I'm currently reading Blood Riders.

What's the premise, if I may ask?
 

E-Rocker

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The bad guy is a formerly down-on-his-luck gambler who acquired a Devil's Deck & now, thanks to the deck, is a very good gambler & pretty much runs the town. The deck absorbs the souls of people he out-gambles it just needs a few more to have a full 52 souls & release "a host of manitous- The Whisperers" into the world. Meanwhile, there's a quick-draw competition going on in town. The saloon gal is an undercover agent who helps the PCs, and the gambler's mansion is semi-haunted.
 

TNMalt

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New deadlands needs to do an epic adventure where the PCs make the time travel shenanigans possible.
 

CT_Phipps

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New deadlands needs to do an epic adventure where the PCs make the time travel shenanigans possible.

I understand the Plot Point campaign of the upcoming Deadlands: Dark Ages will deal with it. I'm sure it's a marketing stunt to get the people of Deadlands to buy it but I have no idea how it could be remotely satisfying.
 

CT_Phipps

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Just finished BLOOD DRIVE, which was updated and re-released. I enjoyed the trilogy of adventures, though it's really just sort of a series of random encounters with stock villains. Not a bad book by any stretch of the imagination but it's one that kind of exemplifies the new ethos of the series that instead of a massive plot point campaign to save the world, it is about getting cattle from Point A to Point B. If I were to rewrite it, I think I'd work to tie it all together and maybe give a bigger motivation for why delivering these cattle is more important than any other cattle drive.

Like, say, "There's a famine in the Mazes and this will save the lives of a thousand people."
 

Tommy Brownell

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I love the core of the setting.

I dislike most of the changes in the newest edition. I was a fan of the Fate chips, but they're gone now. The Cackler, and tying Arthurian myth into the setting, left me cold. Tying Blessed to the Power Point system was disappointing. Lots of little minor tweaks to the monsters were disappointing (counting coup on a Hangin' Judge now only gives you one of their scythe revolvers, rather than two).

I literally own the entire classic run in print, but I'm now "take it or leave it" with new Deadlands stuff.

If I ever run it again, I'll probably just take a very broad strokes brush with the setting and probably stick largely to the version before this one. Best Deadlands campaign I ever ran had nothing to do with the metaplot, the Reckoners, their four Servitors, or much Deadlands-specific aside from The Harrowed anyway.

The touch on the big elephant in the room: I had no issue with the Civil War being a cold war. In most of my games, the war was something people Back East fretted about more than the people in The West (where our adventures took place) did. Being more or less on your own in a place where literal bat winged demons are ready to swoop down on you at night makes certain threats a little more urgent. We got deep into racism in our games at times...not slave stuff, generally, but native. I'm part Cherokee. One of my players is half Cherokee, and one of his PCs is an indian. We had racist bad guys who needed to be shot in the face, and I'm not afraid to have a well meaning NPC who is uncomfortable around people who are "different". That said, of all the things I'm not a fan of in the new edition, changing the Confederacy is pretty low on that list, because it barely affected our games for the last 20 years anyway.
 

Tommy Brownell

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Deadlands was actually the first game I was aware of and made use of the metaplot.

We played a long campaign in each of the four settings (Wild West, Noir, Hell on Earth and Lost Colony) and as characters were at the end of the progression system at the end of the campaign the metaplot stuff worked its way in naturally. At the early and mid game it was just "cowboys and ghosts" but the setting level details could actually be used in a gameable way for the end game.

Although I know the Savage Worlds version I played didn't quite have metaplot in the comic book 90s sense that Deadlands Classic did.

Not quite to the same degree, but it was still officially there. After all, the four biggest non-core releases each dealt with one of the four Servitors.
 

Séadna

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Not quite to the same degree, but it was still officially there. After all, the four biggest non-core releases each dealt with one of the four Servitors.
Yeah I can't really compare them as all I ever did with Deadlands Classic was learn the rules in abstract for conversion reasons. Actually one game where I found conversion fun. I just knew they had made it less "coming soon!".
 

Tommy Brownell

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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?

At half a million dollars, I believe it stands as Pinnacle's largest Kickstarter (even topping Savage Worlds Adventure Edition). I think doing a serious non-Savage Worlds overhaul would risk alienating their fanbase.
 

Tommy Brownell

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Yeah I can't really compare them as all I ever did with Deadlands Classic was learn the rules in abstract for conversion reasons. Actually one game where I found conversion fun. I just knew they had made it less "coming soon!".

Very good point. Yeah, lots of the old Deadlands books were just...open ended on setting/plot stuff, and NOT in the "it's up to YOU, pardner!" kinda way that Savage Worlds books tend to be.
 

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If I ever run it again, I'll probably just take a very broad strokes brush with the setting and probably stick largely to the version before this one. Best Deadlands campaign I ever ran had nothing to do with the metaplot, the Reckoners, their four Servitors, or much Deadlands-specific aside from The Harrowed anyway.

What was your best Deadlands campaign about?
 

tenbones

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I was actually a player - a Shaolin monk being hunted by a Christian cult (a lot of people didn't realize while we were having a Civil War here, China was having it's own big disaster over there in real life). So I was hunting down the guy that destroyed my monastery, and I hooked up with the other players that were bounty hunters who were after this Apache warrior (the bodyguard of my long-term target).

After a lot of awesome action, dungeon-delving (mines! secret hideouts! literal underground railroads!) over a dozen sessions - I got into single combat with the Apache warrior with his magical tomahawks vs. my Five-Dragons Gung Fu - and we were slugging it out, after 7-rounds and I figured I finally got him, my party members were doing crowd control with tons of mooks swarming us, one of my players decides to take a shot at the Apache warrior while in melee with me, rolls a critical failure and ends up shooting me in the head...

... and rolls damage and exploding dice caused 72 points of damage. WELCOME TO DEADLANDS, PARDNER!

Edit: I want to go on record here that I told that player DO NOT DO THIS. I GOT IT. He did it anyways.
 

Baulderstone

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Deadlands was actually the first game I was aware of and made use of the metaplot.

We played a long campaign in each of the four settings (Wild West, Noir, Hell on Earth and Lost Colony) and as characters were at the end of the progression system at the end of the campaign the metaplot stuff worked its way in naturally. At the early and mid game it was just "cowboys and ghosts" but the setting level details could actually be used in a gameable way for the end game.

Although I know the Savage Worlds version I played didn't quite have metaplot in the comic book 90s sense that Deadlands Classic did.
Deadlands Classic did have a lot of metaplot and "You'll need to wait until The Book about X comes out in 6 months before you can understand what is happening in this book you just bought", but it wasn't the worst in that case.

The original core of the game was reasonably complete. If you had the original core book and Quick and the Dead, the original setting book, you had everything you needed to run a full game. It explained everything the how and why behind the supernatural happenings so the GM understood the big picture. It also had mechanics for so that players could lower the Fear Rating, making a tangible difference in the setting.

Considering the number of '90s games that never got around to explaining their settings even after a long product line (Fading Suns), or gave you a complete, cleverly-thought-out setting but spread it thinly over a number of books (Conspiracy X), Deadlands Classic wasn't that bad.
Tying Blessed to the Power Point system was disappointing.]
That's too bad. In the recent cleric thread, Simlasa Simlasa was talking about how well his cleric works in our DCC game. It reminded me how DCC clerics seemed to be heavily influenced by the Blessed in Deadlands, and what a great system it was.
At half a million dollars, I believe it stands as Pinnacle's largest Kickstarter (even topping Savage Worlds Adventure Edition). I think doing a serious non-Savage Worlds overhaul would risk alienating their fanbase.
Given that Savage Worlds is one of the most popular new RPGs of the century, the only system I can see them having any chance of doing better with would be 5E, and we've already got Deadlands D20, if anyone wants to see what a poor combination D&D and Deadlands is.
 

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DEADLANDS: BLOOD DRIVE (adventure module) review

Link: https://booknest.eu/reviews/charles/2246-deadlandsblooddrive

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4/5

DEADLANDS: BLOOD DRIVE is a hardback edition assembling three adventures written for DEALANDS: RELOADED (Bad Times on the Goodnight, High Plains Drovers, and Guess Whose Coming to Donner). The adventure follows the player characters as they attempt to move 1,000 cattle across the territories of the Weird West in order to arrive at a plot of land that he's purchased to build a ranch.

Deadlands has always been set in the Wild West but they have often avoided dealing with some of the most traditional of cowboy activities. John Goff manages to rectify this with the carefully researched story of how cattle drives are performed, the kind of territory they move through, and what sort of encounters they're likely to have. There's plenty of Wild West weirdness in the book but the focus is mostly on exaggerations of real life things like quicksand, rattlesnakes, stampedes, and rustlers.

Basically, the player characters get hired to provide protection for a herd of cattle owned by Bill Sutter and his niece, Abigail Morton, of the "Lazy S" cattle company. There's a lot of fun to be had on the trails with a sort of random encounter check feel to the whole thing that has since been lost from mainstream Dungeons and Dragons. The cowboys and cowgirls run across all manner of weirdness in their journey with the perhaps weirdest being when they encounter a rocketpack wearing spy's corpse as well as the Men in Black. Technically, it was the US army but they really should have used the Agency there.

Blood Drive features expanded rules for things like herding cattle, horses, spooking herds, and other things that will be useful in campaigns that involve the most iconic creatures of Westerns outside of horses. There is also, a giant mechanical undead bull monster like the kind on the cover that I almost think deserves its own adventure. You could easily use these three adventures separately, run them as a mini or full campaign, or mine them for individual adventure details.

I do have a few faults with the campaign book and will share them now, though they aren't enough to make me regret my purchase. The first of these is the fact the adventures are relatively low stakes and depend on the assumption the PCs will want to take a month-long journey across the Wild West to drive cattle for $50 a month. While this is fine for pre-generated PCs, it is a little unlikely if the PCs are gunslingers or mad scientists.

Despite being updated for the Savage Worlds Adventure Edition of Deadlands, there's no real changes involving the disappearance of the Confederacy. The biggest change is the fact that the Confederacy is no longer occupying Roswell, New Mexico. As such, the PCs might hesitate to gun down Union soldiers the way they might not have in the original book. The book focuses much more on the rival train companies that are struggling for supremacy in the region than North or South. Indeed, I'd argue you could probably stick to only one train company menacing the PCs and the adventure wouldn't change.

If I were to run this adventure, I'd probably give the PCs a reason for this like there's a famine in the Mazes and they're going to be saving lives by getting this herd to them quickly. This is actually stated in the background but not something the PCs know. This impacts a few of the plot points but would add an urgency that isn't there in the book.

Second, the characters are a bit on the archetypal side with very few surprises. The evil cattle rustler, the vengeful Native wizard, and the evil cattle baron are decent enough villains but could use a bit more polish. I feel like adding a central storyline or hidden enemy to the campaign tying them all together would make the work hang together better. Maybe Bill Sutter is a former outlaw and they're his ex-partners or someone is trying to drive him out of business by making sure this cattle drive is an utter failure. The character To'sarre does have a past with Bill but it's not properly explained to the PCs and would benefit the story if he sat down to do it after the first few attacks.

In conclusion, this is an entertaining adventure and very much on the low-key side of things rather than the big epic plot point campaigns of Reloaded. Well, it's technically also Reloaded but you know what I mean. Blood Drive is perfect for setting the stage for more personal tails of horror and Wild West shenanigans. I feel it could have used a bit stronger motivation and some more flavor in parts but it is still a great supplement.
 
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Tommy Brownell

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What was your best Deadlands campaign about?
It was a homebrew against some baddie's called The Devil's Own, led by a Mexican who claimed he was the Devil's son, who had killed the grandfather of one of the PCs some 60 years earlier and hadn't seemingly aged a day since.

The only tie in to the metaplot it had was that The Devil helped the PC's out, because the main baddy had thrown in with The Reckoners and Satan was pissed about that, so he helped the good guys win.

Had fun cooking up a whole heap of interesting (to me and the group) bad guys, as well as some nice mystery, and they were dying to kill every last one of the gang, which makes me feel like I did something right.
 

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I've just started my campaign around a homebrew town on the Arizona-Mexican Border called El Diablo (El Dorado), which is a Ghost Rock boomtown that is full of monsters, scum, and other problems. The PCs are the town sheriff and deputies with the job of trying to bring some order to the hellish place. My plan is to have the PCs to deal with the local gangs who are already in power, A Fistful of Dollars style, and the fact that the rail companies plan to expand into the city to take it over. They need lots of Ghost Rock and have no intention of sharing it with the local prospectors.

I've provided all the PCs a rough outline of the town and its local hot spots with a list of NPCs they know.

Hopefully, it'll be the basis for a lengthy campaign inspired by Red Dead Redemption and various spaghetti Westerns. I like the Adventure Edition for this because I plan to deal with ex-Confederates as bad guys with Jesse James as actual bad guy.
 

Tommy Brownell

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I've just started my campaign around a homebrew town on the Arizona-Mexican Border called El Diablo (El Dorado), which is a Ghost Rock boomtown that is full of monsters, scum, and other problems. The PCs are the town sheriff and deputies with the job of trying to bring some order to the hellish place. My plan is to have the PCs to deal with the local gangs who are already in power, A Fistful of Dollars style, and the fact that the rail companies plan to expand into the city to take it over. They need lots of Ghost Rock and have no intention of sharing it with the local prospectors.

I've provided all the PCs a rough outline of the town and its local hot spots with a list of NPCs they know.

Hopefully, it'll be the basis for a lengthy campaign inspired by Red Dead Redemption and various spaghetti Westerns. I like the Adventure Edition for this because I plan to deal with ex-Confederates as bad guys with Jesse James as actual bad guy.

After me and one of my players both beat RDR 2 or, more accurately, while we were playing it - we talked about doing a campaign with some similarities to that, with the PCs being responsible for a whole group of NPCs...plus all the crazy stuff The Weird West has to offer.
 

CT_Phipps

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Oh here's my write-up for EL DORADO if anyone is interested. I admit, it references things that happened in our game like blowing up Roswell.
 

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3rik

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I love Westerns and horror, but don't particularly care for Steampunk
This is the main reason why I do not like Deadlands as a setting. The weird tech theme park nature of it contradicts the existence of anything resembling a wild west / frontier IMHO.

That said, for some reason the DCC-based Kickstarted game Dark Trails, now renamed Weird Frontier, did appeal enough to me to back it. I will still excise all weird tech from it, of course.
 

CT_Phipps

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This is the main reason why I do not like Deadlands as a setting. The weird tech theme park nature of it contradicts the existence of anything resembling a wild west / frontier IMHO.

That said, for some reason the DCC-based Kickstarted game Dark Trails, now renamed Weird Frontier, did appeal enough to me to back it. I will still excise all weird tech from it, of course.

Eh, the steampunk element is created by mad scientists and part of the horror element. However, it can also be used as representative of the encouragment of civilization. You can do several angles with it.

1. Scientists in barns: You have your Tesla types in isolated ranches like the short-lived TV show Legend. Them fleeing the East because they were called MAD, MAD YOU SAY. You can easily do Frankenstein with a change in scenery.

2. Catalog Mad Science: Effectively Wile E. Coyote where the baddies or locals have access to devices that provide them an edge.

3. The Death of the Old West: One of the earliest myths of the Old West is John Henry being killed by the artificial rail layer. Red Dead Redemption was all about how technology was the tool for the destruction of the outlaw life, Native cultures, and freedom. This one works best with Deadlands as science (or more precisely "industry") is literally powered by the forces of Hell.

Part of the the reason it doesn't bother me is that the steampunk element in the game is all unique unreplicatable inventions. The only mass produced stuff is by the guy who is the Horseman of the Apocalypse.
 

Tommy Brownell

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Eh, the steampunk element is created by mad scientists and part of the horror element. However, it can also be used as representative of the encouragment of civilization. You can do several angles with it.

1. Scientists in barns: You have your Tesla types in isolated ranches like the short-lived TV show Legend. Them fleeing the East because they were called MAD, MAD YOU SAY. You can easily do Frankenstein with a change in scenery.

2. Catalog Mad Science: Effectively Wile E. Coyote where the baddies or locals have access to devices that provide them an edge.

3. The Death of the Old West: One of the earliest myths of the Old West is John Henry being killed by the artificial rail layer. Red Dead Redemption was all about how technology was the tool for the destruction of the outlaw life, Native cultures, and freedom. This one works best with Deadlands as science (or more precisely "industry") is literally powered by the forces of Hell.

Part of the the reason it doesn't bother me is that the steampunk element in the game is all unique unreplicatable inventions. The only mass produced stuff is by the guy who is the Horseman of the Apocalypse.

Yeah, it's one of my least favorite setting elements, but it doesn't actually bother me that much precisely for the reasons mentioned.

In my game, the weird science stuff comes up just often enough to be an issue, but never often enough to make it stop feeling like a cowboy game.
 

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I think the Mad Science actually helps with the western feeling. It reminds the players that this is a time of massive technological change. Trains, as an example, are an essential part of westerns, but it is easy for modern players to think of them as old-timey things rather than a startlingly new technology that is completely changing the world. It's a time when inventions are coming so fast that people are entirely sure what the limits are. The Mad Science in the game does a good job of capturing that feel.
 

3rik

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Just a train and a telegraph line is enough. No need for all that weird stuff.
 

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I made a thread devoted to Deadlands adventure hooks. I hope people will check it out and enjoy

 

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3.5/5

THE HORROR AT HEADSTONE HILL is a fun sandbox style adventure that I have admittedly mixed feelings on. It reminds me a lot of the Call of Cthulhu supplements I used to buy way back in the Nineties from Chaosium where the focus wasn't necessarily the adventure but the immersion. There's dozens of NPCs in this book that populate a sleepy little Wyoming community ranging from the dance hall prostitutes to the crooked land baron. The point of the game is not really to find the evil and destroy it but enjoy a full campaign with the little world you've found yourself in.

Unfortunately, the game suffers a bit from the fact that its villain is a sentient evil forest. Basically, the intertwined roots hit some Ghost Rock and it became an evil Fangorn. The trees have no motivation but are just mindlessly malevolent and have been replacing the locals with Pod People. I feel like that doesn't really fit the Deadlands ideal of horror that is ghosts, damned souls, Revenants, and more. The other villain is also a bit on the lame side as his ultimate goal is BUY ALL THE LAND UP! Maybe I'm too used to the World of Darkness where epic overthetop tragic backstories are part and parcel for the setting.

Deadlands horror should be related thematically to the Old West: lawlessness, freedom, industrialization, past guilt, and other sorts of things. Maybe if the forest was evil because someone was polluting the area or destroying nature then it would at least have some sort of reason but the Invasion of the Body Snatchers homage just didn't land for me. It's a shame because I do think that there's a lot of good to be found here and Wyoming isn't a very often used "West" state since it's so much greener than your typical Arizona, New Mexico, or Texas locale.

So, sadly, I don't think I'm going to be running this.
 

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It's a shame because I do think that there's a lot of good to be found here and Wyoming isn't a very often used "West" state since it's so much greener than your typical Arizona, New Mexico, or Texas locale
Not being native that's one thing that takes a bit of work, giving different areas of the US their own feel. T.A. Larson's history of Wyoming was useful to me. Just a good read anyway.
 

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Revised and expanded my review:


The Horror at Headstone Hill

3.5/5

THE HORROR AT HEADSTONE HILL is a 131 page sandbox adventure for DEADLANDS: THE WEIRD WEST. It is an interesting variant on the previous plot point campaigns because while the ones for Reloaded were primarily about big epic battles with the Reckoner's Servitors, this is designed to be a much more down to Earth campaign where the focus is on protecting a small community from an insidious lurking threat.

The campaign takes place in Wyoming Territory (it won't be a state until 1890), which is symbolic in many ways since Wyoming remains the least populace state of the Union with barely over half a million residents in 2020. This is a very different sort of adventure from the typical Weird West one and seems designed to upend a lot of assumptions about what Deadlands is and is about while also providing the central "small town menaced by supernatural evils" feel.

The similarities are that Tarrytown, Wyoming, is a flyspeck of a burg in the middle of nowhere. It is a Ghost Rock mining town and it is being menaced by dastardly mining boss, Jerem Heaston, who is basically from central casting for stock Western archetypes. Heaston wants all that Ghost Rock and he's pushing people off their land to do it! It's a story that has been done in Shane and Once Upon A Time in the West with equal authority.

The differences is that Heaston Hill (the titular "Headstone Hill") is menaced by an evil forest. Yes, you heard that correctly. In what I suspect will be the most controversial element of this story, Headstone Hill's primarily villain isn't Jerem Heaston but a malevolent corrupted aspect forest that has been awakened by digging its roots into Ghost Rock. In addition to producing an evil Treebeard at the heart of things, it has also developed massive numbers of Pod People that have begun replacing the local townsfolk. I'll have more thoughts on this later.

The good part of this game is that Tarrytown, Wyoming is much like the old Chaosium publications that provided you a hundred or so residents of Innsmouth or Arkham in order to run campaigns that had more than stock characters. If you're looking for a boxed set that can provide you all the characters you need to fill out a campaign ranging from the local school ma'arm to prostitutes then this book will give you what you need.

I've mentioned that I think Deadlands runs best with the idea of giving the PCs their own versions of Tombstone or Dodge City to defend from local threats. While it's easy to cross the country fighting evil, moving from town to town, I think the game is stronger if you are defending the locals against something insidious. As such, I'm all about these kind of boxed sets and think Gomorah and Tarrytown are both the best.

Unfortunately, I do have a few minor complaints that bring the score down a bit. The first is the fact is that the villains are a bit on the dry side and that is ironic given that this is one of the rare places in the Wild West that is green, wet, and humid. Heaston is just an asshole and lacks even the occasional humanizing moment that dastardly rich people tended to have in the aforementioned movies. This is even worse than the Screaming Tree that has no motivation than EVIL.

I think the Screaming Tree's lack of characterization is particularly annoying because there's the very obvious angle to pursue with the idea that lumber, mining, and other industrialization is ticking it off. The Wild West has long been associated with environmental themes and the encroach of civilization destroying natural beauty that it seems like making the forest have that as a motivation would be an obvious one. You could also give it a fairly demonic "Legion"-esque personality as it absorbs more and more people into its forest like the Borg. Maybe the player characters find the missing citizens are still alive in pods and can't just burn down the forest. This thing is begging for flavor like Native Shamans imprisoning an ancient evil under the forest or something. But no. It's just evil.

The NPCs are also lacking what I would consider to be some really strong personalities. There's a lot of decent characters here but none of them really leaping off the page like Gomoroh had. Giving the place a Bonnie McFarland or Al Swearengen to balance the setting around might have helped matters a bit. Which is to say the cast is fine but rather normal when Deadlands thrives on providing no end of weird eccentrics.

The campaign is pretty good and, frankly, ends in an incredibly downbeat grim way. Even if the players do everything right, the town is way past the point of no return and the best the players can do is give it a mercy kill. It also has the idea of the player characters encountering MORE evil the more good they do as the Reckoners are strong enough to fight back once the heroes have shown themselves to be a threat. Twilight Events are a great addition to any chronicle and illustrates that the darkness is winning in certain places, Confederacy eradication or not.

In conclusion, this is a good supplement for those who want a low key Plot Point campaign base that will end on a bitter downbeat note rather than soaring triumph. Unconventional environment or not, this is a bit more Spaghetti Western than heroic Lone Ranger. I give kudos for the designers for making a setting that is wet, lush, and cold versus the typical isolated arid desert. I just feel they could have added some more twists as well as distinguishing characteristics among the NPCs. Still, the Savage Tales are great and there's a lot to use here. Kudos!
 
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Baulderstone

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I give kudos for the designers for making a setting that is wet, lush, and cold versus the typical isolated arid desert. I just feel they could have added some more twists as well as distinguishing characteristics among the NPCs. Still, the Savage Tales are great and there's a lot to use here. Kudos!
Deadlands has always been good about providing a variety of environments. Aside from the Great Maze, the area most detailed in the original setting book was the Black Hills area. That helped me get past my association between westerns and deserts that I had in my head from movies.
 

CT_Phipps

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Well I just finished a game where the player characters fought a Fair Folk elf impersonating General Custer and feeding off his false hero worship. The player characters discovered his weakness by destroying Custer's sword, the books that his biggest worshiper cherished (written by Libby Custer), and also breaking said worshiper's faith in him by pretending to be his mistress. They had a sword duel where the player character taunted him with a bunch of Wikipedia facts about his being last at West Point and only promoted due to the loss of officers during the Civil War.

It weakened him enough they finally destroyed the demigod's avatar.
 

Rogerdee

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Just reading new version, although I don't remember the old one much.
Seems okay.
 

CT_Phipps

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I'm reading some of the old CLASSIC Deadlands now and I have to say some of them are just frigging bizarre and hilarious. Dead Presidents has you assassinate President Jefferson Davis (Yay!) who has been replaced by an evil doppelganger (What?) and on behalf of the glorious hero that dies heroically, Robert E Lee (???)! All due to a failed attempt to assassinate Davis by a Haitian railway baron who is the villain (:blink:smile:.

It's interesting to compare it to SHOWDOWN AT SUNSET which just has an evil card player opening a gateway to Hell and you stopping it. Because gateways to Hell are bad.
 
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Has anyone checked out the "Horror at Headstone Hill" boxed set for the Deadlands Savage Worlds Adventure Edition? The idea of a sandbox plot-point campaign for Deadlands has be intrigued.
 

CRKrueger

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I love the core of the setting.

I dislike most of the changes in the newest edition. I was a fan of the Fate chips, but they're gone now. The Cackler, and tying Arthurian myth into the setting, left me cold. Tying Blessed to the Power Point system was disappointing. Lots of little minor tweaks to the monsters were disappointing (counting coup on a Hangin' Judge now only gives you one of their scythe revolvers, rather than two).

I literally own the entire classic run in print, but I'm now "take it or leave it" with new Deadlands stuff.

If I ever run it again, I'll probably just take a very broad strokes brush with the setting and probably stick largely to the version before this one. Best Deadlands campaign I ever ran had nothing to do with the metaplot, the Reckoners, their four Servitors, or much Deadlands-specific aside from The Harrowed anyway.

The touch on the big elephant in the room: I had no issue with the Civil War being a cold war. In most of my games, the war was something people Back East fretted about more than the people in The West (where our adventures took place) did. Being more or less on your own in a place where literal bat winged demons are ready to swoop down on you at night makes certain threats a little more urgent. We got deep into racism in our games at times...not slave stuff, generally, but native. I'm part Cherokee. One of my players is half Cherokee, and one of his PCs is an indian. We had racist bad guys who needed to be shot in the face, and I'm not afraid to have a well meaning NPC who is uncomfortable around people who are "different". That said, of all the things I'm not a fan of in the new edition, changing the Confederacy is pretty low on that list, because it barely affected our games for the last 20 years anyway.
Sounds like they made lousy changes for lousy reasons, and made it a lot less interesting.
 

CT_Phipps

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Okay, I recommend people download DEAD PRESIDENTS from Classic Deadlands because this is an utterly BONKERS adventure that somehow manages to be ridiculously offensive while trying to be a over-the-top fun Bond adventure. I'm not someone who actually wants to get into the politics but man, this is a book that deserves it's own WIR. I think it also helps explain why they wiped away the CSA surviving.

The premise is that Robert E. Lee hires the PCs to assassinate Jefferson Davis, who has been replaced by a doppelganger. Robert E. Lee is assassinated in the process, dying heroically to save the PCs, and the PCs get their chance to kill Davis at Lee's funeral. First, they have to deal with stopping a voodoo ritual to kill Jefferson Davis, though before they know it's not the REAL head of the CSA. Oh and also rescue Davis' family from where they're under house arrest (the doppelganger choked to death Jefferson's infant son to scare them into compliance).

But when they do succeed in killing Davis, he orders a massive Civil War ironglad manned by the undead to bomb Richmond to the ground. The PCs want to save Richmond, presumably, and then sink or takeover the villain's doomsday ship. This results in the South sueing for peace with the North and ending the Civil War (because they already emancipated all their slaves, its only Davis' evil that was keeping it going).

Oh and the PCs will get a holy Confederate revolver.

Wow.

I...

Wow. Were all Classic Deadlands adventures this crazy?
 
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