I have been thinking a lot about Deadlands since the announcement of the Double Shot kickstarter. This is probably my favorite Savage Worlds setting of all time, and because I have been reading books for other systems while waiting on this kickstarter to launch, I have been thinking of how to apply some of the ideas from them to this book. The book that these items came from that I just finished was Don’t Rest Your Head1 by Evil Hat Productions.
The first area that I have been thinking about is the twisting of the real world that happens when you become aware of the Mad City2 and how when you become one of the Awake3 you see extra doors and windows in the buildings that no one else can see, and that these are ways to enter the Mad City. From a Deadlands perspective I see this has happening based on the Fear Level4 of the region you are in. The higher the Fear Level, the greater the number of extra doors, windows, or even buildings that might show up in any town. And from these points of entry the various abominations could enter the world from the spirit lands to bring more fear or alternatively the posse5 could use them to enter the spirit world for various reasons. Personally I would limit the number of entry points based on the fear level and the size of an area. So a small town with a low fear level might only have one entry location, but a large city with a low fear level might have five or six places to enter. On the other hand a small town with a fear level of six might have one per real building and maybe even a couple of extra buildings. The locals would know to avoid these places on an instinctual level, but those who just arrived in town like the posse would have no such special protections and might be tricked or unknowingly enter into these places and have to deal with the inhabitants.
The second area that I have been thinking about from Don’t Rest Your Head is the Nightmares6 Some of them, I am not sure how, or if I would incorporate, but Mother When, her Ladies in Hating, and the Promising Students seem tailor fit for use somewhere in Deadlands.
A third item that I have been thinking about is the Thirteenth Hour7. I like the idea of having the group end up somewhere and being chased by overwhelming forces and them having to run, hide and struggle to stay ahead of danger for a time without truly being able to get away. It is a great way to set up an extended chase/dramatic task sequence and could be made as a surprise twist that happens after they safely enter and leave a few times for them to get caught, or even better have some of the party make it through the exit before the thirteenth hour (those that miss the session) and leave the rest of the party trapped for that session. Possibly having to do a side job for someone to provide the posse with protection while they are stuck.
The last area that I have been thinking about is the Bizarre Bazaar8. I am not sure how this could be included into Deadlands, I just like the idea of needing to enter the spirit lands to acquire some item or knowledge and finding that they have to trade something to get it that isn’t just money, but more personal (memories, first-born, etc.). Maybe only on certain nights at the right time one of these doors opens into the street market, and having to figure out which entrance opens into it and when becomes part of the adventure itself.
- You can find the review I wrote up for the game here. ↩
- This is the alternate city that you can enter created by the dreams of those that don’t know and is part of the internal setting for the surreal world of Don’t Rest Your Head. ↩
- Those who have awaken to and are aware of the Mad City and can now travel back and forth between the worlds. ↩
- This is the amount of local fear in the region, the higher the number, the more likely monsters are active in the area and the more nightmarish the region becomes. ↩
- The term for the player characters in a Deadlands game. ↩
- The term for the main antagonists in Don’t Rest Your Head. Ideally these should be customized to the characters in the game, but there are some example generic ones in the book. ↩
- This is the hour after midnight when there is no way leave the Mad City. You are stuck there for an hour being hunted by the abominations that are residents for various rules infractions that you may or may not know about or even have done. ↩
- This is a location in the Mad City where just about anything can be bought or traded for. ↩