So one of the PDFs that I got as part of the Deadlands Classic 20th Anniversary Edition was Boomtowns. I went into reading this without any idea of what I would find, and for the most part I was quite happy and then I read the last town profiled, but lets start at the beginning.
This book starts off with published description of the four towns from the point of view of one of the residents or visitors. The towns covered are Liberty, Montana, Tuscon, Arizona, Laramie, Wyoming, and Bonasco, New Mexico.
After we finish this section we get a Marshall’s section that covers the details and secrets of the locations. All of this is packed with hooks that can be used to start and drive a number of sessions of play as a posse explores the location and its surrounding area.
The last thing that the book contains are templates for various buildings that you could find in a boomtown. All of which could be useful printed and used as default location maps if done on some type of card stock. We also get a sheet of furniture to put in these locations that could also be printed and used. I thought all of the maps and the collection of room furnishings was definitely a nice touch in this book.
Finally I will discuss a little bit about the four towns.
This is a fairly standard cattle town, with the local cattle barons attempting to run roughshod over everyone who gets in their way. It is the most pleasant-sounding of the four towns covered, and when we get to the truth in the Marshal’s section we find that the local cattle barons are causing a lot more problems than the public story lets on. We also find that there are a couple of different abominations that are active in the region that will cause supernatural trouble. All in all, I think this is a pretty good starting location since most of the trouble setup is of the mortal variety. The other thing that I liked about this is that this town was not documented in Last Sons.
This town is set up with having to deal with the arrival of the Bayou Vermillion railroad and all that it brings with it. Unlike the first town, this one has a fairly extensive write-up in the plot point campaign Stone and a Hard Place. I liked this one though because it gives you a bit of history on how the place ended up the way it was described in that book. Tuscon is set up to have internal strife between the “right-side” of the tracks and the “wrong-side” of the tracks because of the machinations of the Bayou Vermillion rail road. So again there will be plenty to do here as well.
This town has a number of strange happenings, but they are not all as dangerous as they might seem. We have some internal struggles with the rail line, and a problem with bad luck. We also have a church on cursed ground to deal with. This town does make an appearance in Last Sons where what is going on with the church is at least known, but there is still no solution.
Bonasco, New Mexico
This is the last town, and it is portrayed as a gambler’s paradise, the reality is far more dangerous and better. I will not go into the details, but suffice it to say I loved this town and its secret. This final town is not covered in Stone and a Hard Place, so everything I read here was something new. Just a note this town can and will probably eat any posse who is not paranoid enough, and yes this is my favorite of the boomtowns.