So I just finished reading this pdf and I am eagerly awaiting the physical kickstarter reward that will be coming later this year. This setting is the covers the end of Deadlands time line with the events that occur after Deadlands Hell On Earth. In some ways this setting makes me think of Firefly without as much of the technologically advanced Alliance. This is what you would get if all the action took place on all the backwater worlds.
There are several factions in the setting several of them antagonistic if not outright hostile to each other. For example we have the remains of the UN Forces who came to fight the natives of planet Banshee, you have Hellstromme Industries and their research station. You have the human colony on Banshee, the native Anouk, the "Skinnies" and a couple of other minor factions all working against or with each other by turn trying to accomplish their goals. Anyway, let me get started going over what is in the book.
In the first chapter we get a player facing introduction to the setting and what has gone on to get us where the game starts. While I have been a fan of the Deadlands setting, I had never explored this area, so a lot of it was new to me, and the few bits that were not new were because they are covered in Deadlands Hell On Earth. Again there is a strong similarity between this setting and Firefly even though this setting predates Firefly. It was probably just the spirit of the times kind of thing.
The next chapter cover character creation. The first thing that makes this chapter odd is that it is the first Deadlands setting that has a racial option that is not human. You can play one of the native Anouk aliens. In addition to the information on that we get new edges and hindrances which include setting specific Arcane Backgrounds. The other new thing is in addition to playing a Harrowed, there is a new edge for those who survive death Guardian, which is someone who was resurrected by the living planet to defend it. The other interesting thing the edges give clues as to how the future re-release of Deadlands might handle Grit and Guts.
The next chapter covers gear and vehicles. For the most part gear is not very high tech and because the colony was cut off from Earth, it is old, recycled, and refurbished to get as much use out of the limited resources as possible. So while the chapter has a number of pages, it is not tables and tables of gear, but more basic equipment with information on trading for it and background on the vehicles and how they can be customized.
The next chapter covers the setting rules that the players no from the get go without the secrets that they will learn while navigating the setting. We get some information on Fear Levels a Deadlands classic, we get rules on Gravity, Space, Spaceships and Spaceship Combat. All things that the players will use at some point during their time playing the game.
The next chapter covers things in the space between players and GM. These are the things like how the different Arcane Backgrounds as well as what it means to be a Guardian or to be a Harrowed. We also get some special edges for Guardians and Harrowed. We also get some setting specific powers for each Arcane Background.
The next chapter is covers the Game Master setting secrets. This covers what has really been going on that most people don’t know and how that impacts what is happening now. A lot of the early parts of this chapter are things people who follow the Deadlands story line will already know, but once we get past the start of the Reckoning.
The next chapter is the Game Master side of the setting specific rules. One of the interesting twists was that the functionality for Coup in this setting which is no longer limited to just the harrowed. We also get more secret information on the Gravity Drives and the table for those who picked the Veteran of the Way Out West edge.
The next chapter covers an adventure generator using a deck of cards as well as regional random encounter tables that you might use while the characters travel long distances. I will say this is one of my preferred adventure generators because it makes use of both the suite and the value of the card for each step along the way.
The next chapter covers a plot point campaign that deals with one of the Reckoners that was banished to Banshee. Though with six adventures, you will definitely want to either add more from the adventure generator in the chapter before or run some of the adventures from the next chapter to beef up the party before the finally. Of interest two of the adventures in this campaign take place in space, and the rest take place on Banshee.
The next chapter covers a bunch of short adventures. Some of them take place on the different space stations in the region while others take place on the planet or in the belt. I did find Mamma’s Boy and Not Quite Everything Goes particularly interesting.
The last chapter has the stats for the important people and things you will meet as well as new monsters and aliens. The two big issues I had with this was we only got one of the Reckoners stated out (the one dealt with in the plot point campaign). While I can use that to extrapolate the other three, it would have been nice to have them done. The other was given the changes in the rules around Coup, that so few of the creatures listed had a power for the players to try and steal. I will say that I was very impressed with the Skinny and I think it would make a great reoccurring enemy for a party.
Anyway, I really liked this book and I am glad that I backed it. I know when they originally announced the kickstarter I was unsure if I would back it, but since then my thoughts on it has changed and after reading the book I am glad that I went against my first instincts.