What a long, strange trip it's been....
Well, I'm back after who the heck knows how long. Thought I'd share
that there fire a spell and maybe share with y'all a few experiences
I've had out on the trails. See, I bin runnin' Classic Deadlands for
since it came out, so near on 10 years is my reckonin'. Ain't always
bin easy, but it's always bin fun. From my first Kent group, to the
Loft of Legend, right up to present day, Deadlands is the game I get
asked to run most often. Here's a few things I've gleaned from my
1: If you want to get away with being a Huckster, play a coloured
one. A sad fact of life in the Old West was that most folks didn't
think coloured folks were too educated, so an educated spellcaster
who was also black was destined for greatness. A great way to turn
the sadly prevalent prejudices in on themselves, I think.
2: Injuns are not effective melee weapons.
3: A horde of prairie ticks ain't that scary. A single prairie tick
in a dark room, scuttling audibly over a wooden floor? Now that's
frightening. Think of the facehugger scene in Aliens, and you'll get
4: Think real hard before you go letting players CREATE harrowed PCs.
Having it happen in the course of play is fine, but a created
harrowed can be min-maxed to perdition and back. Deadlands is a good
system for min-maxing anyway, so throwing that kind of additional
power into the mix is a recipe for unpleasantness in my opinion.
5: The old West was a harsh, unforgiving environment. It's only right
that circumstances reflect that. I recently had a player shoot a
sheriff point-blank for asking him for his guns as he entered town. I
told him to roll 1d6, and informed him that the number rolled was how
many deputies and civilians he killed before his public hanging. He
then pouted for the rest of the night because I'd punished him
for "playing his character". I told him I was doing nothing of the
sort; I was simply playing the setting in response. He hasn't played
since. No big loss.
6: The key to success in Deadlands, in my opinion, is and has always
been this: LISTEN TO YOUR GROUP! Some of my best sessions have sprung
up out of comments made by players partway through a session that
I've yoinked and used later. Best of all? They usually forget it was
7: Draw on as much inspiration from around you as possible. Things
that have inspired me lately include 'Something Wicked This Way
Comes' by Ray Bradbury, any music by Fields of the Nephilim, 'Once
Upon a Time in the West', Vertigo's 'Hellblazer', 'Sandman'
and 'Preacher', anything by Alfred Hitchcock, 'Firefly'
and 'Serenity', and HBO's magnificent 'Deadwood' series. No doubt
you'll all have been inspired by something in the past too.
Now I realise that a lot of you will figure this is me teachin' my
granny t' suck eggs, given that y'all are also experienced Marshals
and players too. That's fine. These here are just my observations, to
be ignored or utilised as y' choose. In any case, more than anythin'
this is just me touchin' base wi' y'all again. More posts will be
Happy trails, amigos.