Play shifted a few gears as we moved our Deadlands into some more action oriented encounters.

Between weeks I managed to hammer the differences between the edition of the test drive, the version of the rules we had, and adapting the Deadshot Dime Novel adventure to the Savage Worlds Adventure Edition (SWADE).It didn’t stop us from making many a mistake with the rules but that’s part of the learning experience.

Things we learned

  • Players and GM need an understanding about how how often they should be spending bennies.
    Indeed, they are the blood and flow of the mechanics with several abilities requiring spending a bennie to activate. Several got spent on the minor encounter with a handful of tumblebleeds and left the players tapped for the big final encounter.
  • A Bennie reference card would help (Bennies being used for rerolls and other benefits)
    As we get more used to the game, we might not need this as much but it would be a handy thing for new players or even a reminder to experienced players. This is one of several things I’ll be adding to the GM screen I printed off.
  • Having a list of the edges and hindrances from the Savage Worlds core and Deadlands handy.
    We had premade characters with most of these abilities detailed, but we didn’t have that for all the NPCs and frankly there are a lot. The plan is to include a copy of the core edges, hindrances, and powers added to the Deadlands binder so that its all in one place for when we make our own characters.
  • Set up a Damage summary or flow chart.
    We tabbed that page and turned to it frequently. I am totally going to make my own addition to a GM screen of how much damage is needed for a wound, the results of the vigor roll for being incapacitated, and what happens with bleeding out. Again, experience playing will help but when my brain is otherwise occupied, a quick reference is a good thing. I found something similar with Call of Cthulhu with an even simpler damage system.
  • The Death Spiral while shaken is vicious.
    Again, if we read this correctly, these penalties from wounds apply to even the vigor roll to resist being shaken and stabilize from bleeding out. For an average Wildcard, that’s rolling against a target of 7 on a d6 or d8 if suffering from 3 wounds and fighting against being incapacitated.

Things we enjoyed:

  • We still really enjoyed the poker hand for the gun duel and were looking forward to our Huckster dealing with the devil for spontaneous casting of a power (ran out of bennies earlier). It slows things down a bit but honestly those are the dramatic moments that should stretch out.
  • The fast and furious combat against a gang of bandits went quickly and felt very pulp as heroes dominated the scene.
  • It’s a great setting with the Wild West meets Eldritch Horrors and flavoured with Pulp Action.

Things we might change next time:

  • Powerful Powers Nerf or Not?
    Power Points regenerate pretty quickly at 5 points an hour of rest. This feels like a dial for how pulp a game you are looking at with Blessed and Hucksters tossing around all their powers every encounter.
  • Restocking Bennies
    Something simple like gaining 1 after an encounter, up to a maximum of 3 bennies total for a PC wild card.
    That’s just a house rule we are considering to oil the bennie mechanics.
  • Using experience points of 1 – 3 a session, gaining an Advance at 5 pts.
    Experience points were used in an earlier edition and that’s not as simple as an edge every session but I like that feel of awards and saving up.

Overall, we are looking forward to playing again sometime with our own generated characters. I grabbed the Headstone Hill PDF for a sandbox setting (used a Black Friday special) and might even invest in some setting appropriate pawns. We used some trifold printed figures but they aren’t the easiest to store, add clips to, or track numbers on.