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Deadlands and More Deadlands


Image courtesy of Imgur.

Sorry about the delay in getting this one posted, folks. This week I’ve been doing the literary equivalent of trying to ski uphill during an avalanche. So I’ve been a wee bit more distracted than usual.

This time I’ve decided to geek out about Deadlands, a Weird Western role playing game. I talk a bit about the game in general, my experiences with it and the various Deadlands campaigns I’m running these days. I also talk a little bit about why I think these particular kinds of genre mashup games work as well as they do.

(No jackalopes were harmed in the making of this podcast.)


  1. James Silverstein
    April 4, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    Hey there! I’ve been playing Deadlands since… Well… There were no supplements for it. I love classic deadlands, and I’ve recently started running a campaign once again. I’ll admit, however, there are a couple of problems:
    1) I honestly don’t have very responsive players. They want me to put a straight line in front of them for them to follow. Because of that, I think they ‘miss’ a lot of the world. But that’s not the fault of the game, of course. What follows sort-of is…

    2) The sourcebooks, largely, made it impossible for the PC’s to affect the world. Every ‘huge’ NPC villain was never statted, with the -stated- reason that ‘if [they] statted the person, the PC’s could kill it, and we have ‘plans’ for that NPC’. The first few times were bearable, but after a while? It began to look like the PC’s were getting to be ‘observers’ in history, and little more. (If you’ve seen / read / played the adventure ‘The Unity’, that’s the biggest example of this- all the big bads come out to play, and every single one of them is dealt with by an NPC while the PC’s watch.)

    3) There are some specific cultural problems I have with the classic setting, but I won’t go into detail here. I’ll just say that if certain political decisions were made as they were in the Deadlands history, it would’ve been very, very hard for the Civil War to go on as long as it did.

    That being said… Deadlands is an -amazingly- rich world, and I love how their magic (and technology) system works ‘behind the scenes’ – the reason mad scientists are mad. The reason kung-fu monks are bald. The way they take the ‘short cut’ that allows cybernetics to thrive (when you don’t have to worry about the patient surviving the cybernetic surgery process). It’s all very inventive and very fun.

    Like you, however, I’m the silly chump that GM’s -all the time-. I’ve gotten to play in one HoE game that lasted all of two sessions. Beyond that… No go.

  2. James Silverstein
    April 4, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    (Oh, and a follow-up to #2- the constant habit of the writers to say, “We’ll fill you in on the details in a later book!” got real old (and real hard on the wallet) real fast.)

  3. April 5, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    Yeah #1 can be problem with a lot of games. Hopefully it’ll turn around and they might learn to be more proactive. The #2 issue did happen quite a bit with classic Deadlands, but more recently, once Cutter got a hold of it, things opened up a bit more. Deadlands Reloaded actually has the stats for all the major bad guys in it AND their weaknesses! As for #3… I have a feeling that may dip into an area of “things I don’t like to talk about over the Internet.” However, I will say that some sourcebook (I can’t remember which one at this point) does, I think, mention that the discovery of ghost rock fundamentally changed the economies of both countries and altered things to the point that they were able to keep their respective war machines going. Not sure if that would have been enough in the “real world” but thankfully it’s just one of an infinite number of possible realities. 🙂

  4. Greg "Wolfwood" Allen
    April 9, 2014 at 5:05 pm

    Wolfwood runs down a hill screaming “Ruuuuuuuuuun awaaaaaaaay” as a large rattler arches in the back ground and two smaller ones burst through the ground. The rest of his group who were running up the hill slow pace as in a wash Wolfwood flies past them down the hill.

    Dead Lands is a magical game, one that allows you to reach deep and bring up the most fun story lines and really let your character run free in fiction while partaking in a cool world!

    Thank you for doing this pod cast sir, as always I look forward to our next Dead Lands Game!

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