So in response to the Double Shot Kickstarter Classic and Good Intentions that is going on now, I decided that my next couple of books that I was going to re-read were the Deadlands Reloaded Player’s Guide and Marshal’s Guide. You can find my thoughts on this read through of the player’s guide here. This post will cover the Marshal’s Guide which I just finished reading as well.
From a form factor and art work, this is almost exactly like the player’s guide. The only difference is that it has about thirty extra pages in it, and so my impressions of the book itself are the same.
This chapter covers the full history of the reckoning starting with before the white man came to the Americas up till today. So this chapter covers how things started and what happened to make the major players the way they are today, and what their goals are. In a nutshell for those not familiar with the setting is that in the middle ages the Native American tribes in the Americas saved the world and locked away most magic and the evil spirits that were trying to destroy it. Then the Europeans came and killed by war or disease most of the Natives Americans and one last survivor of his tribe in rage and grief undid the work of his forefathers and released the evil spirts by killing those that had sacrificed themselves by remaining in the spirit world. We also get in this chapter a discussion on Fear Levels and what it means for each of the seven levels1. We also get a brief description of the four plots from the chief Reckoners who have modeled themselves after the four horsemen of the apocalypse each of these are more fully covered in one of the plot point campaigns2.
This chapter covers the rest of the setting specific rules that are only partially covered in the player’s guide. We get rules on what the different Fear Levels do, and what it takes to reduce the a location’s Fear Level and how to get a Legend chip added to the fate pot. This is also the chapter that contains all of the tables mentioned in the player’s guide like what happens if you took the Veteran o’ the Weird West edge, the dementia that a Mad Scientist gets when they learn a new power, what happens when a Huckster spell backfires, and just what is going on with the Harrowed.
This chapter covers some of the special locations in the setting breaking them down by region with each of the main regions having a Servitor of the Reckoners in charge of raising the area’s Fear Level. We also get a very brief bit on what is happening back east even though those areas do not have a setting defined Servitor involved there. The regions covered in the book are Back East, Disputed Territories, The Great Basin, The Great Maze, The Great Northwest, The High Plains, Deseret, Indian Country, and The Wild Southwest. In each section we get various locations in those regions such as Dodge City which is inside the Disputed Territories that have more specific information for that location3. This chapter ends with a discussion of The Great Rail Wars that were triggered when the North and South both offered contracts to whoever could get a rail way through to California to get Ghost Rock back east.
This chapter covers all of the evil creatures that inhabit the setting, or at least the main ones. There is a pretty good variety of them to use and the book does recommend tweaking them from time to time to keep the group on their toes. Some of my favorite ones are the Animate Hand, Bloodwire, and Mourning Mist. One of the things that I really like about some of these critters is that in some cases, just beating them down will not actually kill them. They will just come back in a couple of nights and itching for revenge. After the nightmarish creatures, we get a selection of humans that could help or antagonize the posse. We finish this chapter with some stats for various famous people in the setting. Some of these are revisited and probably altered in the plot point campaigns that feature them (I didn’t check to be sure, but with new rules being introduced in them, I can’t believe that they would stay the same) and some mundane animals.
The appendix in this book is exactly the same as in the Player’s Guide.
This has always been my favorite setting for Savage Worlds because of the depth and breadth of the setting. I like that they have expanded it to other time periods with Deadlands Noir and Deadlands Hell on Earth. I know at some point they are going to update Deadlands Lost Colony for Savage Worlds, and that will be the last of the classic Deadlands settings to be converted. The last thing I wanted to mention is that I keep thinking of putting together a web site or wiki that houses all of the weird locations from all of the books and allows you to filter them by region all the way down to the city or even building in the city if it is documented and include the ability for users to add new locations from their games. Maybe someday I will actually make the site, and until then, it is just my pipe dream.
- The levels start at 0 and move on up to 6, with almost nowhere currently at a 0 or a six, but there are a couple of fives out there. ↩
- The Flood brings more detail to Famine’s plot with Reverend Grimme. The Last Sons covers War’s plot with Raven. Stone and a Hard Place gives more details on Death’s plot with Stone. Good Intentions will cover Pestilence’s plot with Hellstromme. ↩
- These are further expanded in the Plot point campaigns set in those regions. For example, The Flood has more information on the The Great Maze. ↩